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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 32 No. 1, p. 310-316
    Received: Mar 12, 2002

    * Corresponding author(s):
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Relationships between Phosphorus Levels in Soil and in Runoff from Corn Production Systems

  1. Todd W. Andraski * and
  2. Larry G. Bundy
  1. Department of Soil Science, 1525 Observatory Dr., Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706-1299


Phosphorus-enriched runoff from cropland can hasten eutrophication of surface waters. A soil P level exceeding crop needs due to long-term fertilizer and/or manure applications is one of several potential sources of increased P losses in runoff from agricultural systems. Field experiments were conducted at locations representative of three major soil regions in Wisconsin in corn (Zea mays L.) production systems to determine the effect of tillage, recent manure additions, soil P extraction method, and soil sampling depth (0–2, 0–5, and 0–15 cm) on the relationship between soil test P level and P concentrations in runoff. Runoff from simulated rainfall (75 mm h−1) was collected from 0.83-m2 areas for 1 h after rainfall initiation and analyzed for dissolved phosphorus (DP), total phosphorus (TP), and sediment. The DP fraction of the TP concentration in runoff ranged from 5 to 17% among sites with most of the variation in TP due to varying sediment concentration on the well-drained silt loam soils and to soil test P level on the poorly drained silty clay loam soil. In 213 observations across a range of soils and managements, good relationships occurred between soil test P level and DP concentration in runoff for most of the tests and sampling depths used. Recent manure additions and high levels of surface cover from corn residue sometimes masked this relationship. The slope of DP relative to soil test P level was markedly higher on the silty clay loam soil than on the silt loam soils possibly due to soil permeability–infiltration rate differences. Agronomic soil P tests were as effective as environmentally oriented soil P tests for predicting DP concentrations in runoff.

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Copyright © 2003. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyPublished in J. Environ. Qual.32:310–316.