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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 36 No. 4, p. 1042-1049
    Received: Jan 19, 2006

    * Corresponding author(s): krw@ifas.ufl.edu
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Phosphorus and Other Soil Components in a Dairy Effluent Sprayfield within the Central Florida Ridge

  1. Kenneth R. Woodard *a,
  2. Lynn E. Sollenbergera,
  3. Lewin A. Sweata,
  4. Donald A. Graetzb,
  5. Vimala D. Nairb,
  6. Stuart J. Rympha,
  7. Leighton Walkerb and
  8. Yongsung Jooc
  1. a Agronomy Dep., Univ. of Florida, Gainesville
    b Soil and Water Sci. Dep., Univ. of Florida, Gainesville
    c College of Medicine, Univ. of Florida, Gainesville


There is concern that P from dairy effluent sprayfields will leach into groundwater beneath Suwannee River basins in northern Florida. Our purpose was to describe the effects of dairy effluent irrigation on the movement of soil P and other nutrients within the upper soil profile of a sprayfield over three 12-mo cycles (April 1998–March 2001). Effluent P rates of 70, 110, and 165 kg ha−1 cycle−1 were applied to forages that were grown year-round. The soil is a deep, excessively drained sand (thermic, uncoated Typic Quartzipsamment). Mean P concentration in soil water below the rooting zone (152-cm depth) was ≤0.1 mg L−1 during 11 3-mo periods. Mehlich-1-extractable (M1) P, Al, and Ca in the topsoil increased over time but did not change in subsoil depths of 25 to 51, 51 to 71, 71 to 97, and 97 to 122 cm. Topsoil Ca increased as effluent rate increased. High Ca levels were found in dairy effluent (avg.: 305 mg L−1) and supplemental irrigation water (avg.: 145 mg L−1) which likely played a role in retaining P in the topsoil. An effect of effluent rate on P and Al concentrations in the topsoil was not detected, probably due to large and variable quantities present at project initiation. The P retention capacity (i.e., Al plus Fe) increased in the topsoil because Al increased. Dairy effluent contained Al (avg.: 31 mg L−1). Phosphorus saturation ratio (PSR) increased over time in the topsoil but not in subsoil layers. Regardless of effluent rate, the P retention capacity and PSR of subsoil, which contained 119 to 229 mg kg−1 of Al, should be taken into account when assessing the risk of P moving below the rooting zone of most forage crops.

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