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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Surface Water Quality

Estimating Source Coefficients for Phosphorus Site Indices


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 35 No. 6, p. 2195-2201
    Received: Jan 9, 2006

    * Corresponding author(s): hae1@psu.edu
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  1. H. A. Elliott *a,
  2. R. C. Brandta,
  3. P. J. A. Kleinmanb,
  4. A. N. Sharpleyb and
  5. D. B. Beeglec
  1. a Dep. Agricultural and Biological Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802
    b USDA-ARS, Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Research Unit, University Park, PA 16802
    c Dep. Crop and Soil Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802


Phosphorus release to runoff varies widely for different land-applied organic P sources even when spread at equivalent total P rates. To address this variability, some P site indices include tabulated P source coefficients (PSCs) for differential weighting of applied P materials based on their runoff enrichment potential. Because runoff P can vary widely even within source categories depending on composition, storage, and treatment differences, this study explored a method for estimating PSCs based on the water-extractable P (WEP) content of the applied amendment. Using seven published rainfall-runoff studies that followed National Phosphorus Research Project protocols, runoff dissolved P (RDP) was correlated (r 2 = 0.80) with WEP for multiple surface-applied manures and biosolids. Assuming amendments with WEP ≥ 10 g kg−1 behave as highly soluble P sources and have a maximum PSC of 1.0, an empirical equation was developed for computing source-specific PSCs from laboratory-determined WEP values [PSC = 0.102 × WEP0.99]. For two independent runoff experiments, correlations between RDP loss and P source loading rate were improved when loading rates were multiplied by the computed (r 2 = 0.73–0.86) versus generic (r 2 = 0.45–0.48) PSCs. Source-specific PSCs should enhance the ability of assessment tools to identify vulnerable sites and P loss management alternatives, although the exact inclusion process depends on index scaling and conceptual framework.

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Copyright © 2006. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyASA, CSSA, SSSA