I’ve left the mic on before.
Jennifer Nichols of ABC reports that Amanda Neilen discovered that if carbon was added to paddocks, it could reduce nitrogen run-off, fertilise pasture, and prevent the pollution of creeks, rivers and reefs.
“Algae gobble it up and they can form into blooms, which means we can’t swim in our waterways and also it costs more money to treat the water, so we really want to keep the food source for algae out.
“Your average cow can have up to five or six urination events a day, and each time a cow pees it can produce between half a litre to about two litres of liquid.”
Multiplied by 26.1 million cattle in Australia, it is estimated that between 65 to 312 million litres of cow urine enter our environment every day.
The PhD student at Griffith University’s Australian Rivers Institute worked with farmers, environmentalists and other scientists during the two-year research project.
“I think from when I first started and suggested this topic to my supervisor, she found it instantly novel and funny and she said, ‘Yes, you should look at what keeps cow piss out of waterways’,” Ms Neilen said.
“I collected fresh cow urine from Maleny Dairies and I was able to apply this to different treatments, and look at the different pathways that kept urine in the soil and stopped it from leaching out of the soil.
“We did find that we could add carbon to the soil, which was a pretty novel and exciting finding, because the carbon was actually like a great food source for the microbes and made them start increasing their productivity.
“They were able to hold the nitrogen in the soil, which is what we wanted.
“Adding carbon to the soil made quite a big difference. For example, grass uptake reduced nitrogen leaching by 70 per cent.”