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Phosphorus losses from arable land in England.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>06/1998
<mark>Journal</mark>Soil Use and Management
Issue numberSupple
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)168-174
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Concentrations and annual loadings of molyhdate reactive P (MRP) and total (including particulate) P (TP) are reported from field drainage, catchment and erosion experiments in England. Annual losses through field drains and in catchment runoff were 0.037-0.74 kg MRP/ha and 0.37-2.64 kg TP/ha, but those in surface runoff from experimental plots measuring erosion were generally much greater (often > 3 kg MRP/ha and up to 32 kg TP/ha in a wet year). Amounts of TP in drainflow and catchment runoff depended upon factors influencing soil dispersibility, such as particle size distribution and calcium carbonate content. The results to date suggest that P losses in surface runoff and erosion from arable fields to water are best limited by: (a) maximizing crop cover, using minimal cultivation practices and where possible planting crop rows across rather than up and down the slope, (b) avoiding cultivation practices that result in dispersion of soil particles, and (c) avoiding application of P fertilizer to wet soils when rainfall is likely soon after application. Consideration should he given to maintaining field drains below peak efficiency to reduce subsurface P losses.