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Phosphorus leaching from a clay and sandy soil supplied with manure and mineral fertilizer

Liu, Jian; Aronsson, Helena; Ulen, Barbro; Bergström, Lars


Phosphorus (P) leaching from agricultural fields contributes to eutrophication of adjacent water bodies. The complexity among factors controlling P leaching losses requires careful consideration in designing effective mitigation strategies. We studied P leaching (both total-P and dissolved reactive P) from lysimeters filled with clay or sandy topsoil before and after addition of 30 kg P ha-1 in the laboratory. The clay lysimeters were collected from a field with separately tile-drained plots and the results were compared with data from that field. The topsoils were treated with different sources of P (pig slurry or mineral P), which were either surface applied or incorporated into the soil. The initial total-P concentrations in lysimeter leachate were lower from the clay soil (0.13 mg L-1) than from the sandy soil (0.21 mg L-1), but in the clay soil they increased considerably after slurry application, to 1.39 mg L-1 for incorporated slurry and 2.76 mg L-1 for surface-applied slurry. The field study on the clay soil confirmed that surface-applied slurry increases P leaching under certain conditions. Critical events in the crop rotation were application in autumn on the soil surface, after cereals or on grass/clover, while spring application did not increase P leaching. Thus time of application and incorporation of slurry after application may be important for reducing P losses from clay soils.

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