Assessing the efficacy of dredged materials from Lake Panasoffkee, Florida: implication to environment and agriculture. Part 2: pasture establishment and forage productivity.Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2004; 11(6):394-9ES
BACKGROUND, AIMS AND SCOPE
Current dredged material disposal alternatives have several limitations. Options for dealing with dredged materials include leaving them alone, capping them with clean sediments, placing them in confined facilities, disposing of them at upland sites, treating them chemically, or using them for wetlands creation or other beneficial uses The ability to reuse lake-dredge materials (LDM) for agricultural purposes is important because it reduces the need for offshore disposal and provides an alternative to disposal of the materials in landfills. Often these materials can be obtained at little or no cost to the farmers or landowners. Thus, forage production offers an alternative to waste management since nutrients in the LDM are recycled into crops that are not directly consumed by humans. The objective of this study (Part 2) were to: (1) assess dredge materials from Lake Panasoffkee, Florida as a soil amendment to establish bahiagrass (BG) in a subtropical beef cattle pasture in Sumter County, Florida; and (2) determine the effect of LDM application on the crude protein (CP) and nutrient uptake of BG. This series of two papers aims at providing assessment of the efficacy of lake-dredged materials especially its implication to environment (soil quality, Part 1) and agriculture (forage quality and pasture establishment, Part 2).
The experimental treatments that were evaluated consisted of different ratios of natural soil (NS) to LDM: LDM0 (100% NS:0% LDM); LDM25 (75% NS:25% LDM); LDM50 (50% NS:50% LDM); LDM75 (25% NS:75% LDM); and LDM100 (0% NS:100% LDM). Bahiagrass plots at its early establishment were cut to a 5-cm stubble height on Julian days 112 and harvested to the same stubble height on Julian days 238 and on Julian days 546 following the double-ring method. Field layout was based on the principle of a completely randomized block design with four replications. Plant samples harvested at 546 Julian days were ground to pass through a 1-mm mesh screen in a Wiley mill. Ground forage was analyzed for crude protein. Ground forage samples were also analyzed for tissue P, K, Ca, Mg, Mn, Cu, Fe, Al, and Mo concentrations using an ICP spectroscopy. The effects of dredged materials addition on forage yield and on crude protein and nutrient uptake that were taken at 546 Julian days were analyzed statistically following the PROC ANOVA procedures.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Part 1 of this study demonstrated that the heavy and trace metal contents of LDM were below the probable effect levels and threshold effect levels. As such, the agricultural or livestock industry could utilize these LDM to produce forages. Resuits showed consistently and significantly (p < 0.001) higher BG biomass production and CP from plots amended with LDM than those of BG planted on plots with 0% LDM. Forage yield of BG during its establishment increased linearly (Forage Yield = 1724.3 + 25.64*LDM; R2 = 0.83; p < or = 0.0001) with increasing rates of LDM application. The CP of BG also varied significantly with varying levels of LDM applications. The tissues of BG with 100% LDM had the greatest CP content while the lowest CP content was from the control plots (LDM0). The CP of BG increased linearly with increasing rates of LDM application. The crude protein response to BG application can be described by a linear equation: Crude Protein = 10.38 + 0.052*LDM; R2 = 0.85 p < or = 0.0001. Addition of LDM had increased the levels of Ca by about 1811% when compared with the level of soil Ca among plots with no LDM application. Liming the field could have some direct and indirect effects on the chemical status of the soils. The physiological functions performed by Ca in plants are not clearly defined, but it has been suggested that Ca favors the formation of and increases the protein content of mitochondria.
Beneficial uses of dredged materials from LP, Florida are both economical and environmental. Often these materials can be obtained at little or no cost to the farmers or landowners. Results showed that dredged materials can be used as soil amendments (lime and fertilizer) for early establishment of BG in beef cattle pastures. Environmentally, dredging of sediments that are rich in CaCO3 should restore the 19.4-sq km LP by removing natural sediments from the lake bottom to improve the fishery, water quality, and navigation of the lake. The nutritional uptake of BG grown in unfertile sandy soils of Sumter County was enhanced significantly (p < or = 0.001) by LDM addition. Uptake of TKN, TP, K, Ca, and Mg were remarkably increased as a result of LDM.
RECOMMENDATION AND OUTLOOK
Land application of LDM from LP may not only provide substantial benefits that will enhance the environment, community, and society in south Florida, but also in other parts of the world especially those areas with forage-based beef cattle pastures and similar climatic conditions. The heavy and trace metal contents of these materials were below the PEL and TEL (see Part 1). As such, the agricultural or livestock industry could utilize these LDM to produce forages. LDM should be regarded as a beneficial resource, as a part of the ecological system. Although our results have demonstrated the favorable and beneficial effects of added LDM on the early establishment of BG in pasture fields., further studies are still needed not only in pastures of south Florida, but also in other areas with subtropical or tropical climatic conditions to determine whether the environmental and ecological implications of LDM application are satisfied over the longer term.