Book Chapter

Mitigation and current management attempts to limit pathogen survival and movement within farmed grassland



Oliver D, Heathwaite AL, Hodgson CJ & Chadwick DR (2007) Mitigation and current management attempts to limit pathogen survival and movement within farmed grassland. In: Sparks D (ed.) Advances in Agronomy. Advances in Agronomy, 93. Amsterdam: Elsevier, pp. 95-152.;

To successfully curb microbial contamination of surface waters we need to understand, and holistically evaluate, the range of mitigation strategies that have been designed to protect watercourses from nonpoint agricultural sources, so as to use them to best effect. A cost‐effective and pragmatic approach is to improve knowledge of farm management operations capable of (1) reducing potential pathogen numbers in livestock manures and (2) reducing subsequent transfer (through the environment) of fecal microorganisms derived from livestock manures that are recycled to land. This will prove important for supporting farmer decision making, devising policy, and implementing mitigation practices to limit fecal microorganism delivery from land to water. In this chapter, we consider a diverse suite of manure, animal, and land management options that range from simple manure‐composting techniques and the use of slurry additives, through to land management engineering approaches and the design of constructed wetlands to protect watercourses from microbial contamination. The choice as to which strategy to use, if any, is ultimately made by the farmer and is likely to be influenced by a complex range of factors which may include, for example, tradition, convenience, and farm economics. We conclude that the inherent complexity associated with heterogeneous landscapes confounds the likelihood that a single management strategy will provide complete protection of receiving waters from microbial contamination. Instead, the coupling of different strategies alongside improved education and considerable vigilance by farmers and landowners is needed for a more sustainable approach to limiting diffuse microbial (and, crucially, other contaminant) pollution from agriculture.

Title of seriesAdvances in Agronomy
Number in series93
Publication date31/12/2007
Publisher URL…006521130693003X
Place of publicationAmsterdam
ISSN of series0065-2113

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Professor David Oliver

Professor David Oliver

Professor, Biological and Environmental Sciences