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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Landscape and Watershed Processes

Mathematical Modeling of Phosphorus Losses from Land Application of Hog and Cattle Manure


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 33 No. 1, p. 210-231
    Received: Nov 22, 2002

    * Corresponding author(s): robert.grant@ualberta.ca
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  1. R. F. Grant *a,
  2. M. Amranib,
  3. D. J. Heaneyb,
  4. R. Wrightb and
  5. M. Zhangb
  1. a Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2E3
    b Plant Industry Division, Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6H 4P2


Mathematical models may provide a means to estimate phosphorus (P) losses from land application of manure. Phosphorus losses typically occur during brief episodes of runoff and erosion. Models must be able to simulate P losses during these episodes by representing the basic chemical, physical, and biological processes by which these losses occur. The mathematical model ecosys combines dynamic distributed flow of solutes and nonsolutes through runoff and erosion with convective–dispersive transport of solutes, and both biologically and thermodynamically driven transformations between solutes and nonsolutes. This model was tested against P lost in runoff, erosion, and leachate measured during 90 min of controlled rainfall at 65 mm h−1 on soils from six sites at which different rates of manure had been applied over the previous 3 to 6 yr. Transport and transformation kinetics in the model enabled it to simulate changes of dissolved inorganic phosphorus (DIP) in runoff from >1.0 to <0.05 mg L−1 and changes of total phosphorus (TP) in sediment from 15 to 3 mg L−1 measured during controlled rainfall on soils with diverse P contents. Results from 60-yr model runs using these kinetics with different application rates of cattle manure indicated that (i) a positive interaction exists between annual rainfall and application rate on P losses and (ii) rates greater than 30 Mg ha−1 yr−1 would cause TP concentrations in water leaving the site to rise above acceptable limits. The interaction between rainfall and rate suggests that P losses from manure application at any site should be assessed under the upper range of likely rainfall intensities.

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