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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Surface Water Quality

Runoff Phosphorus Losses as Related to Phosphorus Source, Application Method, and Application Rate on a Piedmont Soil


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 33 No. 4, p. 1424-1430
    Received: May 20, 2003

    * Corresponding author(s): dtarkalson2@unl.edu
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  1. David D. Tarkalson *a and
  2. Robert L. Mikkelsenb
  1. a Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, West Central Research and Extension Center, 461 West University Drive, North Platte, NE 69101
    b Department of Soil Science, North Carolina State University, Campus Box 7619, Raleigh, NC 27695


Land application of animal manures and fertilizers has resulted in an increased potential for excessive P losses in runoff to nutrient-sensitive surface waters. The purpose of this research was to measure P losses in runoff from a bare Piedmont soil in the southeastern United States receiving broiler litter or inorganic P fertilizer either incorporated or surface-applied at varying P application rates (inorganic P, 0–110 kg P ha−1; broiler litter, 0–82 kg P ha−1). Rainfall simulation was applied at a rate of 76 mm h−1 Runoff samples were collected at 5-min intervals for 30 min and analyzed for reactive phosphorus (RP), algal-available phosphorus (AAP), and total phosphorus (TP). Incorporation of both P sources resulted in P losses not significantly different than the unfertilized control at all application rates. Incorporation of broiler litter decreased flow-weighted concentration of RP in runoff by 97% and mass loss of TP in runoff by 88% compared with surface application. Surface application of broiler litter resulted in runoff containing between 2.3 and 21.8 mg RP L−1 for application rates of 8 to 82 kg P ha−1, respectively. Mass loss of TP in runoff from surface-applied broiler litter ranged from 1.3 to 8.5 kg P ha−1 over the same application rates. Flow-weighted concentrations of RP and mass losses of TP in runoff were not related to application rate when inorganic P fertilizer was applied to the soil surface. Results for this study can be used by P loss assessment tools to fine-tune P source, application rate, and application method site factors, and to estimate extreme-case P loss from cropland receiving broiler litter and inorganic P fertilizers.

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Copyright © 2004. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyASA, CSSA, SSSA