Rainfall-induced release of microbes from manure: model development, parameter estimation, and uncertainty evaluation on small plots

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

A series of simulated rainfall-runoff experiments with applications of different manure types (cattle solid pats, poultry dry litter, swine slurry) was conducted across four seasons on a field containing 36 plots (0.75 × 2 m each), resulting in 144 rainfall-runoff events. Simulating time-varying release of Escherichia coli, enterococci, and fecal coliforms from manures applied at typical agronomic rates evaluated the efficacy of the Bradford–Schijven model modified by adding terms for release efficiency and transportation loss. Two complementary, parallel approaches were used to calibrate the model and estimate microbial release parameters. The first was a four-step sequential procedure using the inverse model PEST, which provides appropriate initial parameter values. The second utilized a PEST/bootstrap procedure to estimate average parameters across plots, manure age, and microbe, and to provide parameter distributions. The experiment determined that manure age, microbe, and season had no clear relationship to the release curve. Cattle solid pats released microbes at a different, slower rate than did poultry dry litter or swine slurry, which had very similar release patterns. These findings were consistent with other published results for both bench- and field-scale, suggesting the modified Bradford–Schijven model can be applied to microbial release from manure.

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