Rotational Grazing on Land Receiving Manure Applications; Impacts of Land Management Practices on Soil and Water Quality

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2002: $195,972.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2006
Region: Southern
State: Arkansas
Principal Investigator:
Jeff Birkby
National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT)

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Animals: bovine


  • Animal Production: grazing - continuous, manure management, pasture renovation, grazing - rotational, feed/forage
  • Crop Production: nutrient cycling
  • Education and Training: demonstration, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Natural Resources/Environment: indicators
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems
  • Soil Management: nutrient mineralization, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: urban/rural integration


    Project collaborators in Northwest Arkansas conducted field and economic investigations to compare the impacts of continuous and rotational grazing practices on soil and water quality on lands receiving manure applications.

    Field research studies were used to examine the impacts of grazing practices on nutrient runoff, soil erosion, pasture growth and diversity, as well as on soil chemical, physical, and biological characteristics. This information was then used to assist farmers to implement productive grazing practices that protect water quality through the development of a water quality checksheet for pastures.

    The results were also used to modify weighting factors for the Arkansas Phosphorus Index.

    Project objectives:

    • Evaluate the effects of year-round grazing management on pasture hydrology, nutrient loss associated with surface runoff, soil quality, and animal production.

      Evaluate the impact of soil and water quality parameters according to intensity of grazing practices.

      Evaluate on-farm and off-farm costs and benefits from grazing the practices under assessment.

      Develop a Water Quality Checksheet for Pastures that farmers and agricultural professionals can use to monitor soil and water quality on grazed fields.

      Use experimental results to recommend pasture management practices as modifiers in calculating the Arkansas phosphorous index.

    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.