Skip to main content

Impact of sheep bedding on soil nutrient dynamics in the Centennial Mountains of Montana and Idaho

Leytem, A.B. and Seefeldt, S.S. (2009) Impact of sheep bedding on soil nutrient dynamics in the Centennial Mountains of Montana and Idaho. Soil Science. 173(8):503-510.

[img] PDF

Download (479kB)


Sheep and lamb production is an important industry in Idaho, with
summer sheep grazing in the mountains a common practice. Sheep are
concentrated in bedding areas at night leading to concentrated grazing
and manure and urine accumulation in these areas. To address the effects
of bedding on soil nutrient status, we monitored 16 bedding areas in the
Centennial Mountains, with a general survey performed in 2004 followed
by more intense monitoring of six sites from 2005 to 2006. In 2004, soils
were analyzed for total carbon (C) and nitrogen (N), organic C, total P,
Olsen P, water-soluble phosphorus (WSP), soluble nitrate, and soluble
ammonium. Over the period 2005–2006, soils were analyzed for soluble
nutrients including Olsen P, WSP, soluble nitrate, and soluble ammonium.
The 16 sites evaluated in 2004 had significantly greater total N, C,
and organic C concentrations in the nonbedded areas, whereas Olsen P,
WSP, and ammonium concentrations were greater in the bedding areas.
When six sites were monitored over time, there was no significant effect
of bedding on soluble P concentrations over time or between bedding
and control areas, whereas there was a significant effect of time on
soluble N concentrations but no significant differences between bedding
and control areas. Although these results are preliminary, it seems as if
sheep bedding can alter the nutrient content of soils increasing some
measures of soil nutrients, while decreasing others, which ultimately can
affect the productivity and plant species diversity in these areas.

Item Type: Article
NWISRL Publication Number: 1299
Subjects: Animal
Depositing User: Users 6 not found.
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2009 20:48
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2016 16:36
Item ID: 1322