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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Waste Management

A Model for Phosphorus Transformation and Runoff Loss for Surface-Applied Manures


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 36 No. 1, p. 324-332
    Received: May 31, 2006

    * Corresponding author(s): vadas@wisc.edu
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  1. P. A. Vadas *a,
  2. W. J. Gburekb,
  3. A. N. Sharpleyb,
  4. P. J. A. Kleinmanb,
  5. P. A. Moorec,
  6. M. L. Cabrerad and
  7. R. D. Harmele
  1. a USDA-ARS, U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, 1925 Linden Drive West, Madison, WI 53706
    b USDA-ARS, Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Research Unit, Building 3702, Curtin Road, University Park, PA 16802-3702
    c USDA-ARS, Poultry Production and Product Safety Research Unit, Plant Sciences 115, Fayetteville, AR 72701
    d Dep. Crop and Soil Sciences, Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602
    e USDA-ARS, Grassland, Soil, and Water Research Lab., 808 E. Blackland Rd., Temple, TX 76502


Agricultural P transport in runoff is an environmental concern. An important source of P runoff is surface-applied, unincorporated manures, but computer models used to assess P transport do not adequately simulate P release and transport from surface manures. We developed a model to address this limitation. The model operates on a daily basis and simulates manure application to the soil surface, letting 60% of manure P infiltrate into soil if manure slurry with less than 15% solids is applied. The model divides manure P into four pools, water-extractable inorganic and organic P, and stable inorganic and organic P. The model simulates manure dry matter decomposition, and manure stable P transformation to water-extractable P. Manure dry matter and P are assimilated into soil to simulate bioturbation. Water-extractable P is leached from manure when it rains, and a portion of leached P can be transferred to surface runoff. Eighty percent of manure P leached into soil by rain remains in the top 2 cm, while 20% leaches deeper. This 2-cm soil layer contributes P to runoff via desorption. We used data from field studies in Texas, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Arkansas to build and validate the model. Validation results show the model accurately predicted cumulative P loads in runoff, reflecting successful simulation of the dynamics of manure dry matter, manure and soil P pools, and storm-event runoff P concentrations. Predicted runoff P concentrations were significantly related to (r 2 = 0.57) but slightly less than measured concentrations. Our model thus represents an important modification for field or watershed scale models that assess P loss from manured soils.

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