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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Special Section Evaluation of Phosphorus Indices: Twenty Years of Science and Development

Accounting for the Risks of Phosphorus Losses through Tile Drains in a Phosphorus Index


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 41 No. 6, p. 1720-1729
    Received: June 18, 2012
    Published: October 18, 2012

    * Corresponding author(s): keith.reid@agr.gc.ca
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  1. D. Keith Reid *a,
  2. Bonnie Ballb and
  3. T. Q. Zhangc
  1. a Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Guelph, ON, Canada N1G 4S9
    b Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Stratford, ON, Canada
    c Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Harrow, ON, Canada. Assigned to Associate Editor Peter Vadas


Tile drainage systems have been identified as a significant conduit for phosphorus (P) losses to surface water, but P indices do not currently account for this transport pathway in a meaningful way. Several P indices mention tile drains, but most account for either the reduction in surface runoff or the enhanced transport through tiles rather than both simultaneously. A summary of the current state of how tile drains are accounted for within P indices is provided, and the challenges in predicting the risk of P losses through tile drains that are relative to actual losses are discussed. A framework for a component P Index is described, along with a proposal to incorporate predictions of losses through tile drains as a component within this framework. Options for calibrating and testing this component are discussed.

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Copyright © 2012. Copyright © by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America, Inc.