Sustainable and holistic food chains for recycling livestock waste to land, 2005-2007
This is a mixed method dataset. The study is part of the Rural Economy and Land Use (RELU) programme.
The project aimed to determine if current livestock and manure management practices, attitudes to microbial pollution and decision making represented a risk of pathogen transfers to watercourses from farms. It sought to make recommendations which would reduce those risks, and to estimate the costs and wider benefits accrued.
An important methodological innovation in the development of both field- and farm-scale risk assessment tools was the use of expert judgments to establish values for different drivers of Faecal Indicator Organisms (FIO) risk, be they socio-economic (income, infrastructure, knowledge) or physically (source, transfer, connectivity) based risk factors. Through the development of the field-scale risk tool, it concluded that of the fields surveyed in the catchment, the majority fell within the negligible and low risk category. The season accommodating the highest proportion of very high' risk fields was found to be summer (4%) whereas autumn, spring and summer were all ranked as having the lowest proportion (2%) of seasonal very high' risk.
The farm scale risk tool was designed to indicate the likelihood of FIO loss from farm enterprises and to highlight key attributes of the farm system contributing to FIO loss. The 4 key risk components were conceptualised as: accumulating microbial burden to land, landscape transfer potential, infrastructural characteristics of the enterprise, and social and economic obstacles to taking action. Understanding how the four components interact to influence risk is key to effective microbial risk assessment on the farm.
Further information and documentation for this study may be found through the RELU Knowledge Portal: Sustainable and Safe Recycling of Livestock Waste.