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Wolverhampton, United Kingdom

Woodchip pads can be a sustainable alternative to the overwintering of stock on grassland or in conventional housing and can offer benefits in improved animal performance, improved health and environmentally sustainable options for the management of animal excreta (dung, urine and the resulting effluent). Novel flow measuring equipment was developed to monitor effluent drainage from two woodchip pads sited on commercial farms in the UK, one in Powys (Wales, UK) and the other in Leicestershire (England, UK). Observations were made over 8 months in 2009/10. The aim was to assess both hydrological characteristics and nutrient fluxes. Flow monitoring, based on the use of tipping bucket or the principles of an overshot water wheel, was required to be capable of diverting a sample into a storage tank for sub-sampling and subsequent analysis. Estimates of pad outputs through evaporation and sub-surface drainage accounted for 0·98-1·01 of total inputs from precipitation and animal excreta, with evaporation and pad drainage representing 0·47-0·63 and 0·34-0·51 of total inputs, respectively. The resulting scientific information is of value in the synthesis of guidelines for design, construction and management of woodchip pads. Detailed analysis of flow and precipitation data, coupled with column absorption studies to evaluate moisture retention in the woodchip matrix, were used to consider the development of modelling approaches, with the potential to predict drainage outputs across a range of geographical, weather and pad management situations. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012. Source

Taylor S.H.,University of York | Parker W.E.,ADAS Wolverhampton | Douglas A.E.,University of York | Douglas A.E.,Cornell University
Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata | Year: 2012

Variation in phloem sap composition is important in determining aphid performance and is known to occur at both diurnal timescales and in response to plant age. For field grown potato plants, Solanum tuberosum L. (Solanaceae), we determined diurnal variation in components of phloem sap, measured by ethylene diamine tetra-acetate exudation, and tested for impacts of plant age. The effects of plant age and diurnal cycles on honeydew production by Macrosiphum euphorbiae (Thomas) and Myzus persicae (Sulzer) (both Hemiptera: Aphididae) were also quantified. Both the ratio of sucrose to amino acids and the composition of amino acids in phloem sap varied significantly with time of day. Dietary essential amino acids contributed a smaller proportion of amino acids in the phloem sap of older plants and during early phases of the diurnal cycle. The only significant effect on aphid honeydew production was of the diurnal cycle for Ma. euphorbiae, although increased honeydew production during the day when compared with the production at night, was consistent across the two species. In contrast with studies carried out at seasonal scales, we found limited evidence for variation in phloem sap composition in response to plant age, consistent with our results for honeydew production. These data highlight the need for improved understanding of how seasonal and diurnal physiology of plants influence performance in phloem sap feeding insects. © 2011 The Authors. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata © 2011 The Netherlands Entomological Society. Source

Jackson D.R.,ADAS Wolverhampton | Chadwick D.R.,Rothamsted Research | Crookes M.,ADAS Gleadthorpe | Sagoo E.,ADAS Boxworth | Smith K.A.,ADAS Wolverhampton
Journal of Agricultural Science | Year: 2013

Woodchip pads can be a sustainable alternative to the overwintering of stock on grassland or in conventional housing and can offer benefits in improved animal performance, improved health and environmentally sustainable options for the management of the effluent resulting from the animal excreta (dung, urine and rainfall over the pad). Detailed observations were made on effluent flow and quality from woodchip pads on two commercial farms in the UK, one in Powys (Wales) and the other in Leicestershire (England), over a period of 8 months in 2009/10. Flow data and hydrological characteristics, reported in the companion to the current paper (Jackson & Smith 2012), were combined with the results of effluent sample and soiled woodchip analyses, together with records of animal numbers and activity on the pads, to calculate nutrient fluxes and nutrient balances across the pad for defined periods. Nutrient balances showed that, of the estimated nutrient inputs in animal excreta deposited on the pad, only 0·05-0·10 of the N and P were contained in the effluent draining from the pad, with the rest (>0·90 of N and P inputs) retained in the solids accumulating in the surface layers of soiled woodchip, 'spent timber residues' (STR). The STR was similar in analysis to straw-based farmyard manure (FYM), high in organic N, and land spreading of this material should be managed in a similar way to FYM. It also appears suitable for application to grassland, except when based on coarse woodchips. These results confirm the hypothesis that the effluent draining from the pads should be considered as consistently similar to dirty water rather than slurry, as in the current rules associated with Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs) in England and Wales. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012. Source

Del Prado A.,Rothamsted Research | Misselbrook T.,Rothamsted Research | Chadwick D.,Rothamsted Research | Hopkins A.,Rothamsted Research | And 5 more authors.
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2011

Multiple demands are placed on farming systems today. Society, national legislation and market forces seek what could be seen as conflicting outcomes from our agricultural systems, e.g. food quality, affordable prices, a healthy environmental, consideration of animal welfare, biodiversity etc., Many of these demands, or desirable outcomes, are interrelated, so reaching one goal may often compromise another and, importantly, pose a risk to the economic viability of the farm.SIMS DAIRY, a farm-scale model, was used to explore this complexity for dairy farm systems. SIMS DAIRY integrates existing approaches to simulate the effect of interactions between farm management, climate and soil characteristics on losses of nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon. The effects on farm profitability and attributes of biodiversity, milk quality, soil quality and animal welfare are also included. SIMS DAIRY can also be used to optimise fertiliser N.In this paper we discuss some limitations and strengths of using SIMS DAIRY compared to other modelling approaches and propose some potential improvements. Using the model we evaluated the sustainability of organic dairy systems compared with conventional dairy farms under non-optimised and optimised fertiliser N use. Model outputs showed for example, that organic dairy systems based on grass-clover swards and maize silage resulted in much smaller total GHG emissions per l of milk and slightly smaller losses of NO 3 leaching and NO x emissions per l of milk compared with the grassland/maize-based conventional systems. These differences were essentially because the conventional systems rely on indirect energy use for 'fixing' N compared with biological N fixation for the organic systems. SIMS DAIRY runs also showed some other potential benefits from the organic systems compared with conventional systems in terms of financial performance and soil quality and biodiversity scores. Optimisation of fertiliser N timings and rates showed a considerable scope to reduce the (GHG emissions per l milk too). © 2011 Elsevier B.V. Source

Deasy C.,Lancaster University | Quinton J.N.,Lancaster University | Silgram M.,ADAS Wolverhampton | Bailey A.P.,University of Reading | And 3 more authors.
Agricultural Systems | Year: 2010

Experiences from the Mitigation Options for Phosphorus and Sediment (MOPS) projects, which aim to determine the effectiveness of measures to reduce pollutant loading from agricultural land to surface waters, have been used to contribute to the findings of a recent paper (Kay et al., 2009, Agricultural Systems, 99, 67-75), which reviewed the efficacy of contemporary agricultural stewardship measures for ameliorating the water pollution problems of key concern to the UK water industry. MOPS1 is a recently completed 3-year research project on three different soil types in the UK, which focused on mitigation options for winter cereals. MOPS1 demonstrated that tramlines can be the major pathway for sediment and nutrient transfer from arable hillslopes, and that although minimum tillage, crop residue incorporation, contour cultivation, and beetle banks also have potential to be cost-effective mitigation options, tramline management is the one of the most promising treatments for mitigating diffuse pollution losses, as it was able to reduce sediment and nutrient losses by 72-99% in four out of five site years trialled. Using information from the MOPS projects, this paper builds on the findings of Kay et al. to provide an updated picture of the evidence available and the immediate needs for research in this area. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source

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