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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 84 No. 3, p. 463-468
    Received: Feb 15, 1991

    * Corresponding author(s):
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Reduced Phosphorus Application on Bahiagrass and Water Quality

  1. J. E. Rechcigl ,
  2. G. G. Payne,
  3. A. B. Bottcher and
  4. P. S. Porter
  1. A gric. Engineering, Univ. of Florida, Gainsville, FL 32611
    B elle Glade Agricultural Research Center, Belle Glade, FL



Phosphorus is considered to be the major factor causing eutrophication of Lake Okeechobee and other waterways in Florida. An important source of P for Lake Okeechobee is runoff of soluble P fertilizer applied to bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum Flugge) pastures. A study was conducted to ascertain whether P application levels could be reduced below current agronomic recommendations without affecting pasture yields or quality and to determine the effects of P application on surface water quality. A field study was conducted on a bahiagrass pasture to assess the yield response of bahiagrass to five annual rates of P (0, 6, 12, 24, and 48 kg ha−1) and two application times (dry season and wet season). Fertilizer treatments were arranged in a randomized complete block design with four replications on an Immokalee fine sand (sandy, siliceous, hyperthermic Arenic Haplaquods). Results indicate that P fertilization rates could be reduced from 48 to 24 kg P ha−1 without affecting yields or quality of bahiagrass. Yields in 1989 averaged 11.4, 14,7, and 10.4 Mg ha−1 for the 48, 24, and 0 kg P ha−1 treatments, respectively. Time of P application had no effect on yields or quality of bahiagrass. There was a linear increase in Mehlich I extractable P in the A and E horizons and a quadratic increase to P in the Bh horizon in 1989. Extractable P ranged from 3.8 to 22.5, 1.3 to 2.5, and 21 to 55 mg P kg−1 for the A, E, and Bh horizons, respectively. Phosphorus concentrations in surface water runoff was reduced from 33 to 60% as P application rates were decreased from 48 to 12 kg P ha−1 while total P loss was reduced from 17 to 78%, respectively. Recommended reductions in P application should result in substantial cost savings to producers and also reduce P inputs into surface water.

Florida Agric. Exp. Stn. Journal Series no. R-01388.

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