Geographic information systems (GIS) based model of dairy manure transportation and application with environmental quality consideration

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Survey information was used to develop a minimum cost spatial dairy manure transportation model where environmental quality and crop nutrient requirements were treated as constraints. The GIS model incorporated land use types, exact locations of dairy farms and farmlands, road networks, and distances from each dairy farm to receiving farmlands to identify dairy manure transportation routes that minimized costs relative to environmental and other constraints. Our analyses indicated that the characteristics of dairy manure, its bulk and relatively low primary N, P2O5 and K2O nutrient levels limit the distribution areas or distances between the farms and the land over which the manure can be economically spread. Physical properties of the land limit the quantities of nutrients that can be applied because of excess nutrient buildup in soil and potential to harm nearby waterbodies and downstream people and places. Longer distances between dairy and farmland favor the use of commercial fertilizers due to the high cost of manure transportation. At $0.08 per ton per km transportation cost, the optimal cut-off distances for dairy manure application is 30 km for N and 15 km each for P2O5 and K2O consistent rules. An analysis of dairy manure application to different crop types suggest that, on average, 1 ha of land requires 61 tons of dairy manure to meet the recommended N, P2O5 and K2O needs. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Waste Management

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