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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Environmental Issues

Increase in Phosphorus Losses from Grassland in Response to Olsen-P Accumulation


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 36 No. 5, p. 1452-1460
    Received: May 26, 2006

    * Corresponding author(s): Catherine.Watson@afbini.gov.uk
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  1. C. J. Watson *a,
  2. R. V. Smitha and
  3. D. I. Matthewsb
  1. a Agriculture, Food and Environmental Science Division
    b Biometrics Branch, Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, Newforge Lane, Belfast BT9 5PX, United Kingdom


The Olsen-P status of grazed grassland (Lolium perenne L.) swards in Northern Ireland was increased over a 5-yr period (March 2000 to February 2005) by applying different rates of P fertilizer (0, 10, 20, 40, or 80 kg P ha−1 yr−1) to assess the relationship between soil P status and P losses in land drainage water and overland flow. Plots (0.2 ha) were hydrologically isolated and artificially drained to v-notch weirs, with flow proportional monitoring of drainage water and overland flow. Annually, the collectors for overland flow intercepted between 11 and 35% of the surplus rainfall. Single flow events accounted for up to 52% of the annual dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP) load. The Olsen-P status of the soil influenced DRP and total phosphorus (TP) concentrations in land drainage water and overland flow. Annual TP loss was highly variable and ranged from 0.19 to 1.55 kg P ha−1 yr−1 for the plot receiving no P fertilizer and from 0.35 to 2.94 kg P ha−1 yr−1 for the plot receiving 80 kg P ha−1 yr−1 Despite the Olsen-P status in the soils ranging from 22 to 99 mg P kg−1, after 5 yr of fertilizer P applications it was difficult to identify a clear Olsen-P concentration at which P losses increased. Any relationship was confounded by annual variability of hydrologic events and flows and by hydrologic differences between plots. Withholding P fertilizer for over 5 yr was not long enough to lower P losses or to have an adverse effect on herbage P concentrations.

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Copyright © 2007. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyAmerican Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America