Effect of application of fluidized bed combustion residue to reclaimed mine pastures on forage yield, composition, animal performance and mineral status

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Reclaimed surface mined soils in Appalachia are typically infertile and must be amended for optimum vegetative growth. Fluidized bed combustion residue (FBCR), a by-product of coal-fired power plants, has high levels of Ca, S, Zn, Fe, and Al, and 50% of the neutralizing capacity of limestone. Three treatments were applied to three replicated .81 ha reclaimed mine pastures: control (no amendment), 6760 kg FBCR/ha, and 3380 kg limestone/ha. Based on forage availability, six steers were rotationally grazed on pastures receiving each treatment. Steers were weighed and blood samples collected at 14-d intervals and all animals were sacrificed for tissue sampling at the end of the 114-d trial. Amendment with FBCR or limestone increased soil pH (P < .05) above control levels. Forage yield and steer gain were not significantly affected by treatment. Forage samples collected during the trial indicated that FBCR and limestone amendments elevated forage ash, Ca, Mg, S, Cu and Ca:P ratio (P < .05). Cellulose and NDF were depressed in forage grab samples collected from FBCR- and limestone-amended pastures. The forage sampled the following spring was lower in hemicellulose, Zn, un and Ni; and higher in ash, Ca, S, the Ca: P ratio in the FBCR- and limestone-amended pastures. Mean serum mineral levels of steers were not affected by pasture treatment. The blood packed cell volume was higher in cattle grazing FBCR-amended pastures. Liver levels of Fe, H, Hi and Na were lower in cattle on pastures amended with FBCR or limestone. Bile levels of Mn were depressed in cattle grazing FBCR~ and limestone-amended pastures. The level of Cu in the liver and serum was at deficiency levels and was not detectable in bile, regardless of treatment. Higher kidney levels of Ca, Hg and P were recorded for steers grazing FBCR- and limestone-amended pastures. Hair Zn was higher in cattle grazing the FBCR- and limestone- treated pastures. Rib Cr and long bone Cd levels were lower in animals grazing the limestone- and FBCR-treated pastures. This study suggests that FBCR amendment enhances nutrient quality of forage and mineral status of animals at least as well as limestone application to acidic reclaimed mine pastures.