Nutrient movement and removal in a switchgrass biomass-filter strip system treated with dairy manure. Academic Article uri icon


  • Manure use on cropland has raised concern about nutrient contamination of surface and ground waters. Warm-season perennial grasses may be useful in filter strips to trap manure nutrients and as biomass feedstock for nutrient removal. We explored the use of 'Alamo' switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) in a biomass production-filter strip system treated with dairy manure. We measured changes in extractable P in the soil, NO3 -N in soil water, and changes in total reactive P and chemical oxygen demand (COD) of runoff water before and after a switchgrass filter strip. Five rates of dairy manure (target rates of 0, 50, 100, 150, and 200 kg N ha(-1) from solid manure in 1995; 0, 75, 150, 300, and 600 kg N ha(-1) from lagoon effluent in 1996 and 1997) were surface-applied to field plots of switchgrass (5.2 by 16.4 m) with a 5.2- by 16.4-m switchgrass filter strip below the manured area. Yield of switchgrass from the manured area increased linearly with increasing manure rate in each year. Soil water samples collected at 46 or 91 cm below the soil surface on 30 dates indicated < 3 mg L(-1) of NO3-N in all plots. Concentrations of total reactive P in surface runoff water were reduced an average of 47% for the 150 kg N rate and 76% for the 600 kg N rate in 1996 and 1997 after passing through the strip. Manure could effectively substitute for inorganic fertilizer in switchgrass biomass production with dual use of the switchgrass as a vegetative filter strip.

published proceedings

  • J Environ Qual

author list (cited authors)

  • Sanderson, M. A., Jones, R. M., McFarland, M. J., Stroup, J., Reed, R. L., & Muir, J. P.

citation count

  • 59

complete list of authors

  • Sanderson, MA||Jones, RM||McFarland, MJ||Stroup, J||Reed, RL||Muir, JP

publication date

  • January 2001