Comparison of Construction Costs for Vegetated Treatment Systems in the Midwest

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Bond, Bradley
Burns, Robert
Trooien, Todd
Pohl, Stephen
Henry, Christopher
Moody, Lara
Lawrence, John
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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Since 1905, the Department of Agricultural Engineering, now the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE), has been a leader in providing engineering solutions to agricultural problems in the United States and the world. The department’s original mission was to mechanize agriculture. That mission has evolved to encompass a global view of the entire food production system–the wise management of natural resources in the production, processing, storage, handling, and use of food fiber and other biological products.

In 1905 Agricultural Engineering was recognized as a subdivision of the Department of Agronomy, and in 1907 it was recognized as a unique department. It was renamed the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering in 1990. The department merged with the Department of Industrial Education and Technology in 2004.

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  • Department of Agricultural Engineering (1907–1990)

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Vegetated treatment systems (VTSs) provide an alternative to containment basin systems for beef feedlot runoff control. Beef producers in the Midwestern United States have shown an increasing interest in using VTSs as a perceived lower cost option to containment basin systems. This paper reports the actual construction costs associated with 21 VTSs (eight on permitted Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) and 13 on non permitted Animal Feeding Operations (AFOs)) located within Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Nebraska. The VTS construction costs are reported on a per head basis in 2009 adjusted dollars for each system. Cost comparisons are presented between CAFO and AFO facilities, by location and by system type. Additionally, estimated construction cost comparisons between open feedlots with VTS systems, open feedlots with containment basins, monoslope barns and hoop structure beef production systems are provided. Results from the cost comparison indicate that monoslope barns with concrete floors are the highest cost at $621 per head on average followed by hoop structures at $395 per head. Vegetated Treatment Systems designed for CAFO facilities ($77 per head avg.) are less expensive to construct than a traditional containment basin ($129 per head avg.) The same results indicated that an AFO VTS ($62 per head avg.) was less expensive to build than a containment basin on a similar facility ($195 per head). The data indicated that the least expensive VTS for an AFO is a sloped or sloped and level VTA ($42 per head avg.) followed by a pump sloped VTA ($68 per head avg.) and a sprinkler VTS ($87 per head avg.).


This is an ASABE Meeting Presentation, Paper No. 096524.

Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2009