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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: The Fate and Transport of Phosphorus in Agricultural Systems

Authors
item Hansen, N - UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA
item Daniel, T - UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS
item Sharpley, Andrew
item Lemunyon, J - NRCS

Submitted to: Journal of Soil and Water Conservation
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 20, 2002
Publication Date: November 20, 2002
Citation: HANSEN, N.C., DANIEL, T.C., SHARPLEY, A.N., LEMUNYON, J.L. THE FATE AND TRANSPORT OF PHOSPHORUS IN AGRICULTURAL SYSTEMS. JOURNAL OF SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION. 2002. V. 57. P. 408-416.

Interpretive Summary: Phosphorus is an essential element for the growth of terrestrial and aquatic plants. But in phosphorus -limited freshwater lakes, increased phosphorus loading can accelerate eutrophication and an associated growth of undesirable algae and aquatic weeds. Eutrophication has been blamed for the decline in water quality in freshwater lakes and estuaries in the U.S. over the past decades. The issue has received increased public attention recently as a result of human health problems such as the impaired drinking water supply for New York City and outbreaks of harmful algal blooms in waters off the east coast. This paper reviews the current situation regarding the management of phosphorus in agriculture in the U.S. We conclude that to minimize phosphorus losses, we need a comprehensive approach that combines effective, focused implementation of BMPs at the field, farm, and watershed scale and more long-term efforts to achieve a more balanced whole farm phosphorus budget.

Technical Abstract: Phosphorus (P) is an important input for economic crop and livestock production systems but excessive P losses from agricultural sources can accelerate eutrophication of surface waters. Phosphorus losses occur in particulate forms with eroded surface soil and in soluble forms in runoff and in some cases in water leaching through the soil. This paper provides an overview of the fate and transport of P in agricultural systems. The forms and measurement of P in soil and water and the importance of P sorption processes are discussed. Examples of the effects of fertilizer and manure application on soil P composition are given along with an explanation of soil P incline and decline rates. Finally, an overview is given of management practices that reduce the loss of agricultural P to surface waters.

Last Modified: 10/25/2014
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