Roller Compacted Concrete as Suitable Liner of Livestock Pens to Protect Groundwater Resources

Project Details

Status: Active
Investment: $218,500
Commodity: Beef Cattle, Dairy Cattle
Organization: Alberta Cattle Feeders Association
Investigator: Janice Tranberg

How will this research impact Alberta’s agriculture industry?

Alberta’s Agricultural Operation Practices Act (AOPA) requires feedlot pens to have a protective liner with a maximum hydraulic conductivity preventing ground water infiltration. In high precipitation years, traditional liners can lead to extremely muddy conditions resulting in environmental and welfare concerns as well as high pen maintenance costs. Roller compacted concrete (RCC) has emerged as an alternative to traditional clay liners to address these concerns and reduce maintenance costs.

Why did RDAR invest in this research project?

This study is focused on evaluating if are to evaluate if RCC mixtures made with common, locally available materials can meet the low permeability requirements to protect groundwater as per AOPA regulations. Project researchers will better understand and assure that job site preparations and cold weather concreting practices carried out for the conventional concrete will not lower the quality of RCC mixtures in the field. 

This research will provide the following advantages of RCC in addition to cattle production industry benefits:

  1. Advice will be provided to the cattle feeding industry and RCC contractors on the optimal blend,
    construction, and curing conditions required to maximize the physical durability of RCC in
    Alberta feedlots, thereby realizing greater value out of the investment into RCC as a pen liner;

  2. Technical guidelines will be prepared that, if followed by proponents, will streamline the
    regulatory approval process under the NRCB and reduce the investment of time and funding
    into collecting site-specific information, follow-up investigations and additional site-specific
    monitoring to validate the suitability and efficacy of RCC applied in a feedlot.

The provision of funding from RDAR will be instrumental in realizing the project outcomes for the
benefit of Albertans and the confined feeding industry.

How will research knowledge from this project be transferred and shared with producers?

The 2021 National Beef Research Survey indicated water use, quality and management was a top industry priority. BCRC also lists the development and promotion of best management practices for improved environmental sustainability as an extension priority. With the beef industry commonly under scrutiny for environmental impacts, this research project will provide science-based evidence to substantiate the industry use of RCC and if successful, further promote adoption. 

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