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Abstract

This project was designed to evaluate the effect of ruminant grazing practices at Hickory Hill Farm on the surrounding environment by measuring soil nutrients and runoff chemistry. Three pastures on the farm (Goat, Cattle and Control) were selected for soil sampling and nutrient analyses were recorded. Physical water quality parameters were conducted on the runoff collected from the farm after Hurricane Sandy. The sites with animal activity had higher levels of sulfate, phosphate, nitrate, Mehlich 3 phosphorus and conductivity when compared to control site. However, the control site had slightly higher pH and chloride levels. Nitrogen and phosphorous levels were very low at the control site when compared with the cattle and goat sites. Overall, soil quality was not found to be severely degraded from ruminant grazing activities. It will be vital to continue monitoring the farm to ensure its management practices are allowing optimal farm profitability and environmental health.