Effects of pasture renovation on hydrology, nutrient runoff, and forage yield

J Environ Qual. 2011 Mar-Apr;40(2):320-8. doi: 10.2134/jeq2010.0158.


Proper pasture management is important in promoting optimal forage growth and reducing runoff and nutrient loss. Pasture renovation is a management tool that improves aeration by mechanically creating holes or pockets within the soil. Pasture renovation was performed before manure application (poultry litter or swine slurry) on different pasture soils and rainfall simulations were conducted to identify the effects of pasture renovation on nutrient runoff and forage growth. Renovation of small plots resulted in significant and beneficial hydrological changes. During the first rainfall simulation, runoff volumes were 45 to 74% lower for seven out of eight renovated treatments, and infiltration rates increased by 3 to 87% for all renovated treatments as compared with nonrenovated treatments. Renovation of pasture soils fertilized with poultry litter led to significant reductions in dissolved reactive P (DRP) (74-87%), total P (TP) (76-85%), and total nitrogen (TN) (72-80%) loads in two of the three soils studied during the first rainfall simulation. Renovation did not result in any significant differences in forage yields. Overall, beneficial impacts of renovation lasted up to 3 mo, the most critical period for nutrient runoff following manure application. Therefore, renovation could be an important best management practice in these areas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / methods*
  • Animals
  • Fertilizers
  • Models, Biological
  • Rain*
  • Soil*
  • Water Movements*
  • Water Pollutants


  • Fertilizers
  • Soil
  • Water Pollutants