Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 24, Issue 13, pp 12494–12500 | Cite as

Subsurface cadmium loss from a stony soil—effect of cow urine application

  • Colin William Gray
  • Jane Marie Chrystal
  • Ross Martin Monaghan
  • Jo-Anne Cavanagh
Short Research and Discussion Article


Cadmium (Cd) losses in subsurface flow from stony soils that have received cow urine are potentially important, but poorly understood. This study investigated Cd loss from a soil under a winter dairy-grazed forage crop that was grazed either conventionally (24 h) or with restricted grazing (6 h). This provided an opportunity to test the hypothesis that urine inputs could increase Cd concentrations in drainage. It was thought this would be a result of cow urine either (i) enhancing dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations via an increase in soil pH, resulting in the formation of soluble Cd-organic carbon complexes and, or (ii) greater inputs of chloride (Cl) via cow urine, promoting the formation of soluble Cd-Cl complexes. Cadmium concentrations in subsurface flow were generally low, with a spike above the water quality guidelines for a month after the 24-h grazing. Cadmium fluxes were on average 0.30 g Cd ha−1 year−1 (0.27–0.32 g Cd ha−1 year−1), in line with previous estimates for agricultural soils. The mean Cd concentration in drainage from the 24-h grazed plots was significantly higher (P < 0.05) than 6-h plots. No increase in DOC concentrations between the treatments was found. However, Cl concentrations in drainage were significantly higher (P < 0.001) from the 24-h than the 6-h grazed treatment plots, and positively correlated with Cd concentrations, and therefore, a possible mechanism increasing Cd mobility in soil. Further study is warranted to confirm the mechanisms involved and quantities of Cd lost from other systems.


Cadmium Leaching Urine Chloride pH DOC 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Colin William Gray
    • 1
  • Jane Marie Chrystal
    • 2
  • Ross Martin Monaghan
    • 2
  • Jo-Anne Cavanagh
    • 3
  1. 1.AgResearchLincoln Research CentreChristchurchNew Zealand
  2. 2.AgResearchInvermay Agricultural CentreMosgielNew Zealand
  3. 3.Landcare ResearchLincolnNew Zealand

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