Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Publications

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

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Journal or Book Title

Transactions of the ASABE





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Last Page


Research Focus Area(s)

Animal Production Systems Engineering, Land and Water Resources Engineering


Alternative treatment systems to control runoff from open beef feedlots may enhance environmental security and protect water quality. Several Midwestern states have issued National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permits allowing beef feedlots to use vegetative treatment systems (VTSs) to control and treat feedlot runoff. Monitoring VTSs has provided data to validate performance modeling strategies. The objective of this study was to evaluate the ability of the Soil-Plant-Air-Water (SPAW) model to predict the hydraulic performance of vegetative treatment areas (VTAs). Two approaches, one using the field module and the other the pond module of the SPAW model, were investigated. The model results from the SPAW field and pond modules were compared to monitored performance data from five VTAs in Iowa. Modeling statistics were calculated to evaluate SPAW's ability to predict VTA hydraulic performance. Based on the 18 site-years of data collected, the Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency (NSE), percent bias (BIAS), and ratio of the root mean square error to the standard deviation (RSR) were 0.95, 8%, and 0.22, respectively, on an annual basis. The NSE, BIAS, and RSR for the field module were 0.32, 32%, and 0.83, respectively. The results showed that the SPAW model could be used successfully to predict the hydraulic performance of VTAs, with the pond module being more successful than the field module.


This article is from Transactions of the ASABE 53, no. 2 (2010): 537–543.

Copyright Owner

American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers



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