Vegetative filter strips (VFS) have been shown to have high potential for reducing nonpoint source pollution from cultivated agricultural source areas, but information from uncultivated source areas amended with poultry litter is limited. Simulated rainfall was used in analyzing effects of VFS length (0, 3.1, 6.1, 9.2, 15.2, and 21.4 m) on quality of runoff from fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) plots (1.5 x 24.4 m) amended with poultry litter (5 Mg/ha). The VFS reduced mass transport of ammonia-nitrogen (NH3-N), total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN), ortho-phosphorus (PO4-P), total phosphorus (TP), chemical oxygen demand (COD), and total suspended solids (TSS). Mass transport of TKN, NH3-N, TP, and PO4-P were reduced by averages of 39, 47, 40, and 39%, respectively, by 3.1 m VFS and by 81, 98, 91, and 90%, respectively, by 21.4 m VFS. Effectiveness of VFS in terms of mass transport reduction was unchanged, however, beyond 3.1 m length for TSS and COD and averaged 35 and 51%, respectively. The VFS were ineffective in removing nitrate-nitrogen from the incoming runoff. Removal of litter constituents was described very well (r2 = 0.70 to 0.94) by a first-order relationship between constituent removal and VFS length.

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Published in Transactions of the ASAE, v. 38, issue 6, p. 1687-1692.

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The investigation was supported in part by the United States Environmental Protection Agency under Assistance Agreement C9006706-91-1 to the Arkansas Soil and Water Conservation Commission.