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Waste Management

The concentration of cattle in feedlots, paddocks, corrals, and even pastures increases the potential for pollution, but conditions differ from farm to farm. Managers must keep these differences in mind when designing and implementing programs to manage animal manure, control rainfall runoff, and maintain wastewater handling systems.

General Waste Management
Waste Storage Site and Structures
Specialized Wetlands Preventing Waste Runoff
Case Studies

General Waste Management

Beneficial Management Principles - Environmental Manual for Feedlot Producers in Alberta
Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (AAFRD); Alberta Cattle Feeders Association
Guidelines offering management practices that reduce the impact of feedlot production on soil, air and water. The practices outlines in this manual comply with legislation and can help reduce health affects related to feedlot production.

Controlling Runoff from Confined Livestock Areas
Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives
An overview of how to prevent runoff from paddocks, feedlots, corrals and other confined livestock areas from contaminating surface and ground water.

Siting to Prevent Water Pollution
Alberta Agriculture and Food
Strategies to prevent water pollution by manure runoff, seepage, and the direct access of livestock to waterways. Detailed diagrams are included.

Managing Feedlot Shutdowns
Alberta Agriculture & Food
Unused feedlots pose a risk to surface and ground water, and steps must be taken to minimize this risk when a feedlot is shut down, even for only a few weeks. The steps for cleanup include securing the site, removing solid manure, creating plant cover, dealing with feed storage and protecting water wells.

Feedlot Waste Management: Fly Control
Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Queensland Government, Australia
The congested nature of feedlots, coupled with warm weather and moisture, is thought to form an ideal breeding ground for flies. Besides carrying infectious diseases, flies may also affect cattle performance. Read about waste management approaches to fly control on feedlots.

Waste Storage Site and Structures

Site Characterization Manual: Intensive Livestock Operations and Earthen Manure Storage
Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food
Guidelines developed by Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta regulatory agencies for selecting waste manure sites, among other sites for intensive livestock operations. The guidelines are based on geologic and hydrogeologic knowledge, in order to ensure sites are "geologically secure" -- that is, reducing the risk of pollution. (1.3 MB PDF)

Manure Storage Structure
British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture and Food
Design considerations and engineered structural plans for manure storage facilities. (PDF)

Specialized Wetlands Preventing Waste Runoff

Feedlot Stormwater Runoff Treatment Using Constructed Wetlands
John Pries, CH2M Hill Canada; Patrick McGarry, Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration
Two treatment wetlands were constructed in Manitoba to demonstrate and monitor alternative waste treatment technology for the livestock industry. They systems proved to be effective in cutting contaminant flow to water and have the potential for operation on a larger scale. The system consists of a runoff collection system, storage ponds and wetland treatment cells full of vegetation. (PDF)

Vegetated Filter Strips for Open Feedlot Runoff Treatment
Jeffery Lorimor, Shawn Shouse and Wendy Miller; University Extension, Iowa University
Vegeted Filter Strips (VHS) are areas of either planted or natural vegetation that provide excellent removal of feedlot runoff contaminants. Situated downslope from open feedlots and settling basins, VHS can be incorporated into pastures, grass waterways, terraces or cropland. Although they are passive treatment systems, VFS require good managment in order to function. (PDF)

Holding Pond Site Selection and Design
Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food
Holding ponds contain contaminated runoff from feedlot facilities, silage pits, and manure piles, thus preventing the pollution of surface and groundwater. (PDF)

Case Studies

Quantity and Quality of Runoff from a Beef Cattle Feedlot in Southern Alberta
Jim Miller, Brian Handerek, Bruce Beasely, et al., Journal of Environmental Quality, 2004
Runoff from cattle feedlots contains numerous pollutants that must be controlled and prevented from entering surface and ground waters. Southern Alberta has the highest density of feedlots in Canada, and this study found that runoff from a sampling of farms in this area show high levels of phosphorus and potassium. Water in the catch basin in the sample areas also had continually high populations of E. coli. (PDF)

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