«A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences ...»
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Continuous application of poultry litter (PL) significantly changes many soil properties including soil test P (STP); Al, Fe and Ca concentrations; and pH which can impact the potential for P transport in runoff water. We conducted rainfall simulations on three historically acidic silt loam (SiL) soils in Arkansas, Missouri and Virginia to establish if long term PL applications would impact soil inorganic P (Pj) fractions and the resulting dissolved reactive P (DRP) in runoff water. Soil samples (0-5 cm depth) were taken to find sites ranging in Mehlich-3 STP from 20 to 1154 mg P kg"1. Simulated rainfall events were conducted on 3 m2 plots at 6.7 cm h"1 and runoff collected for 30 min. Correlation between Mehlich-3 and water extractable soil P versus DRP indicated quadratic relationships where DRP was reduced in runoff water even though Mehlich-3 STP continuously increased. As Mehlich-3 STP increased, a concomitant increase in soil pH and Ca occurred on all soils. Soil P fractionation demonstrated that as Mehlich-3 STP generally increased above 450 mg P kg"1 (from high to very high), the easily soluble and loosely bound P fractions decreased by 3 to 10%. Water insoluble complexes of P bound to Al and Ca were the main drivers in reduction of DRP in runoff accounting for up to 43 and 38% of total P (Pt), respectively. Basing runoff DRP concentration projections solely on Mehlich-3 STP may over estimate runoff P losses from soils receiving long term PL applications due to dissolution of water insoluble Ca-P compounds.
Al-P, Al phosphates; Ca-P, Ca phosphates; DRP, dissolved reactive P; epm, evolutions per minute; Fe-P, Fe phosphates; Pj, inorganic P; PL, poultry litter; P0, organic P; Pt, total
Long-term manure application in large amounts can elevate STP levels (Sims, 1993; Snyder et al., 1993; Sharpley et al., 1998), in many cases, far above crop requirements. In regional studies, especially in watersheds with excess manure, the majority of soils tested were classified as high or excessively high in STP (Sims, 1993;
Gartley and Sims, 1994; Wood, 1998; Slaton et al., 2004). Given water quality implications of STP levels above those required by plants, investigators soon demonstrated a significant linear relationship between concentrations of STP and DRP in runoff (Daniel et al., 1994; Sharpley, 1995; Sharpley et al., 1996; Pote et al., 1996; Pote et al., 1999). Assuming that the relationship between STP and DRP is linear, policy makers postulated that eutrophic runoff increases as STP increases and translated this concept into policy by recommending threshold STP concentrations alone as a manure management tool. For example, in the settlement agreement between the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma and Arkansas poultry integrators, a 300 mg Mehlich-3 P kg"1 soil threshold was established in the Eucha/Spavinaw Watershed (DeLaune et al., 2006). Similarly, in the Oklahoma and Arkansas litigation, the Oklahoma Attorney General proposed a threshold of 32.5 mg Mehlich-3 P kg" soil above which no additional P can be applied (Bastaetal., 1998).
While the threshold approach is easy to implement, questions remain about its scientific validity. The threshold concept assumes a linear relationship between STP and DRP in runoff until soil saturation occurs, thereafter, solution P is rapidly increased
occurs because soil P adsorption sites (clay, Fe, Al, and Ca) become saturated at high STP levels and further P additions result in an increase of runoff DRP. Work by McDowell and Sharpley (2001) on soils with Mehlich-3 soil P concentrations up to 553 mg P kg"1 supported the P-threshold theory. Soils generally had a linear response between water and weak salt extractable P and Mehlich-3 STP until a breakpoint of approximately 190 mg P kg"1 was reached, after this point the relationship showed a non-linear rapid increase in runoff DRP as STP increased. From studies such as this, policy makers may conclude that non-linear positive relationship between DRP and STP concentrations persist as additional manure applications are made.
Soil-test P measured by various extractants (Mehlich, Bray, Morgan etc.) and runoff P concentrations are both influenced by chemical properties of the soil such as pH and P buffering capacity. Solubility of P fluxes as pH and buffering capacity vary, which is attributed to varying concentrations of clay, Fe and Al oxides, carbonates, and organic matter (Lindsay, 1979). Phosphorus is most soluble at a soil pH of 6.5. Below the optimum pH, P is rendered less available by reactions with Fe and Al (6.5 pH), while Ca reduces P availability due to secondary mineral formation above the optimum pH (6.5 pH) (Lindsay, 1979). Most research concerning the relationship between STP and runoff P was conducted on acid soils (Sharpley, 1995; Pote et al., 1996; Pote et al., 1999) where P solubility is controlled by Al and Fe minerals. Very limited work has been done on calcareous soils where the P solubility is controlled by Ca minerals. Research by Torbert and coworkers (2002) showed that P concentrations in runoff from calcareous soils was significantly less than those from slightly acidic soils at comparable STP levels.
concentrations as well as elevate soil pH (Hue, 1992; Kingery et al., 1994; Sharpley and Smith, 1995). Thus, long-term additions of manure could potentially influence the partitioning of soil P, shifting the dominant inorganic P forms from Al- and Fe-bound fractions to less water soluble, Ca-bound forms (Sharpley and Smith, 1995; Wang et al., 1995; Sharpley etal., 2004).