2016 journal article
Effectiveness of Livestock Exclusion in a Pasture of Central North Carolina
JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY, 45(6), 1926–1932.
Reducing the export of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and sediment from agricultural land in water-supply watersheds is a continuing goal in central North Carolina. The objective of this project was to document the effectiveness of a combination of livestock exclusion fencing and nutrient management implemented on a beef cattle pasture located in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. The quantity and quality of discharge from two predominantly pasture watersheds were monitored simultaneously for 3.8 yr before and after implementation of the exclusion fencing and nutrient management in the treatment watershed; a control watershed remained unchanged. The excluded stream corridor was intentionally minimized by constructing the fence line about 3 m from the top of the streambank on either side and limiting it to the main stream channel only. Monitoring included collecting flow-proportional samples during storm events and analyzing them for total Kjeldahl N (TKN), ammonia (NH-N), and inorganic (NO-N) N as well as total P (TP) and total suspended solids (TSS). Statistically significant reductions were observed in TKN (34%), NH-N (54%), TP (47%), and TSS (60%) loads in the treatment relative to the control watershed after fencing, whereas storm discharge and NO-N loads were not significantly different. These data show that even a relatively narrow exclusion corridor implemented on only the main stream channel can significantly reduce the export of N, P, and sediment from a beef cattle pasture.