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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Agricultural Phosphorus and the Environment: Challenging Science, Practice and Policy

Authors
item Sharpley, Andrew
item Kleinman, Peter

Submitted to: International Soil Science Congress Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 20, 2006
Publication Date: July 10, 2006
Citation: Sharpley, A.N., Kleinman, P.J. 2006. Agricultural phosphorus and the environment: challenging science, practice and policy [abstract]. International Soil Science Congress Proceedings. Paper No. 67-5.

Interpretive Summary: An interpretive summary is not required.

Technical Abstract: While phosphorus (P) is essential input for profitable crop and livestock agriculture, its loss in runoff accelerates eutrophication of receiving surface waters. Best Management Practices (BMPs) to mitigate P transfers to surface water must address specific agronomic, environmental and socio-economic conditions. These practices can be categorized as those that are related to the management of feed, manure, land, and grazing. “Feed BMPs” are designed to reduce the amount of P imported onto farms. “Manure BMPs” involve decreasing the solubility of P in manure with chemical amendments or physical treatment, moving manure from surplus to deficit areas, and development of alternative uses for manure other than land application. “Land BMPs” are designed to limit runoff, erosion and leaching as important pathways of P loss. These include such practices as conservation tillage, terracing, and stream buffers. “Grazing BMPs” aim to decrease the impact of grazing animals on in-stream export of P and include stream-bank fencing, as well as more intensive pasture and grazing management. Even though there has been a concerted effort to implement remedial measures through voluntary and regulatory means, more research on the long-term challenges of P surpluses at farm, watershed, and regional scales,is neither the single nor the final solution. Many farmers simply do not have the financial resources to implement and maintain costly remedial measures. Despite there being many cost-share programs to help defray remedial costs, institutional red-tape and conflicting requirements often limit program enrollment and hinder their widespread adoption. In some instances, local or regional governmental or agency controls may be necessary to enhance quicker adoption of practices that will have a positive influence on environmental outcomes.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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