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Effect of variable soil phosphorus on phosphorus concentrations in simulated surface runoff under intensive dairy pastures


Effect of variable soil phosphorus on phosphorus concentrations in simulated surface runoff under intensive dairy pastures



Australian Journal of Soil Research 48(3): 231-237



ISSN/ISBN: 0004-9573

DOI: 10.1071/sr09025

Intensive dairy operations in Australia regularly apply P fertiliser to maintain productive pasture species. However, extractable soil test P (STP) concentrations in this industry commonly exceed those required to maximise pasture production, a situation which can increase the risk of P loss to surrounding waterways. The current study examined relationships between STP (Olsen P and CaCl(2) P) and surface runoff P concentrations from a red silty loam (Ferrosol), commonly used for pasture production in south-eastern Australia. Soil was mixed and re-packed into soil trays and a rainfall simulator was used to generate surface runoff. A wide range of soil Olsen P concentrations (0-20 mm, 15-724 mg/kg; 0-100 mm, 9-166 mg/kg) was created by surface-applying a range of P fertiliser rates 8 months before the rainfall simulations. A comparison of the 2 STP methods suggests that Australian soils have higher labile P concentrations for given Olsen P concentrations compared with those measured internationally, suggesting a greater likelihood of P loss in runoff. Furthermore, significant curvilinear relationships between STP and dissolved reactive P (DRP <0.45 mm) in surface runoff for both Olsen P depths (0-20 mm, r(2) = 0.94; 0-100 mm, r(2) = 0.91; P < 0.01) were determined, as well as significant linear relationships between DRP and both CaCl(2) depths (0-20 mm, r(2) = 0.83; 0-100 mm, r(2) = 0.92; P < 0.01). This confirmed that the concentrations of P in surface runoff increased with increasing STP, providing further evidence of an urgent need to reduce excessive STP concentrations, to reduce the risk of P loss to the environment.

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Accession: 070629201

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