alexa Managing Agricultural Phosphorus for Protection of Surface Waters: Issues and Options
Agri and Aquaculture

Agri and Aquaculture

Journal of Fertilizers & Pesticides

Author(s): Andrew N Sharpley, S C Chapra, R Wedepohl, J T Sims, T C Daniel

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The accelerated eutrophication of most freshwaters is limited by P inputs. Nonpoint sources of P in agricultural runoff now contribute a greater portion of freshwater inputs, due to easier identification and recent control of point sources. Although P management is an integral part of profitable agrisystems, continued inputs of fertilizer and manure P in excess of crop requirements have led to a build-up of soil P levels, which are of environmental rather than agronomic concern, particularly in areas of intensive crop and livestock production. Thus, the main issues facing the establishment of economically and environmentally sound P management systems are the identification of soil P levels that are of environmental concern; targeting specific controls for different water quality objectives within watersheds; and balancing economic with environmental values. In developing effective options, we have brought together agricultural and limnological expertise to prioritize watershed management practices and remedial strategies to mitigate nonpoint-source impacts of agricultural P. Options include runoff and erosion control and P-source management, based on eutrophic rather than agronomic considerations. Current soil test P methods may screen soils on which the aquatic bioavailability of P should be estimated. Landowner options to more efficiently utilize manure P include basing application rates on soil vulnerability to P loss in runoff, manure analysis, and programs encouraging manure movement to a greater hectareage. Targeting source areas may be achieved by use of indices to rank soil vulnerability to P loss in runoff and lake sensitivity to P inputs.

This article was published in Journal of Environmental Quality and referenced in Journal of Fertilizers & Pesticides

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