System for value-added export of manure nitrogen and phosphorus through turfgrass sod

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2000: $149,726.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2003
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $28,342.00
Region: Southern
State: Texas
Principal Investigator:
Donald Vietor, PhD
Texas A&M University, Soil & Crop Sciences

Annual Reports


  • Additional Plants: ornamentals
  • Animal Products: dairy


  • Crop Production: nutrient cycling
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, integrated crop and livestock systems
  • Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures


    A learning system was organized to develop and evaluate pathways for exporting manure P and N from impaired to less impacted watersheds through turfgrass sod. The system comprised livestock and turf producers and research and extension faculty who met throughout the 3-yr project to plan, conduct, evaluate, and disseminate research. In addition to sustaining their learning system, project participants developed and evaluated production practices, environmental impacts, and the operational and economic feasibility of integrating nutrient management between livestock and turf industries. Replicated field experiments and sampling of on-farm and pilot-scale production fields indicated a large percentage of applied manure P could be exported in a single sod harvest. In addition, the portion of P lost in runoff from transplanted, manure-grown sod was less than 50% of that lost after surface applications of composted manure or fertilizer during turf establishment. Moreover, a manure P rate of 191 kg ha-1 during sod production eliminated requirements for P fertilizer after manure-grown sod was imported, but runoff losses of total dissolved P were no greater than imported or established sod top-dressed with typical rates of fertilizer P. Economic analyses indicated composting and hauling costs were constraints on use and export of manure P and N through sod. Yet, net returns to sod production were similar between manure-grown and fertilizer-grown sod located on land near dairies. Moreover, the high value of sod increased potential profits for dairies on which sod was grown.

    Project objectives:

    Three research objectives were developed for a three-year project that expanded the scope of the planning project: 1.) Expand and sustain the learning system of stakeholders during development and evaluation of an infrastructure for using and adding value to manure sources of N and P, 2.) Develop and evaluate an integrated dairy and turfgrass system that will use and minimize losses of manure sources of N and P during sod production, export, and transplanting, and 3.) Analyze and evaluate the operational and economical feasibility of exporting manure sources of N and P from watersheds through turfgrass sod.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.