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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Kimberly, Idaho » Northwest Irrigation and Soils Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #356508

Research Project: Improving Management Practices for Irrigated Western Cropping and Dairy Systems to Contribute to Sustainability and Improve Air Quality

Location: Northwest Irrigation and Soils Research

Title: Evaluation of soil test phosphorus extractants in Idaho soils

Author
item Biswanath, Dari - University Of Idaho
item Rogers, Christopher - University Of Idaho
item Leytem, April
item Schroeder, K - University Of Idaho

Submitted to: Soil Science Society of America Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/23/2018
Publication Date: 5/9/2019
Citation: Biswanath, D., Rogers, C.W., Leytem, A.B., Schroeder, K.L. 2019. Evaluation of soil test phosphorus extractants in Idaho soils. Soil Science Society of America Journal. https://doi.org/10.2136/sssaj2018.08.0314.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.2136/sssaj2018.08.0314

Interpretive Summary: Soil test phosphorus (P) is used to evaluate the fertility status as well as potential environmental risks of P loss from agricultural fields. Having tests that work well given the soil characteristics of the region are essential. Newer tests have been developed that may or may not be appropriate for the highly alkaline calcareous soils found in south central Idaho, one of the largest agricultural regions in Idaho. Olsen-P is the most commonly used soil-P test for alkaline calcareous soils found in Idaho and the Western United States. The Bray-1 test is commonly used in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) on neutral to acidic soils but underestimates P in alkaline calcareous soils. Mehlich-3 has been evaluated throughout various regions in the United States, however little data evaluating the test exists on soils in the Western United States. Additionally, the comparatively newly developed H3A test, a component of the soil health tool, has not been widely evaluated on alkaline calcareous soils. Soil samples from the 0- to 30-cm depth were collected from agricultural fields throughout Idaho and analyzed using Bray-1, H3A, Mehlich-3, and Olsen P extractants. Results suggested that Olsen P was strongly correlated with Mehlich-3, while Bray-1 and H3A were not correlated with Olsen P. Both the Bray-1 and H3A test underestimated extractable P when compared with the Olsen P test, whereas the Mehlich-3 overestimated. A threshold point in calcium carbonate (i.e., inorganic carbon (IC)) of 6.7 and 5.1 mg kg-1 for the Bray-1 and H3A was obtained, respectively, that indicated inorganic carbon concentrations at or above these levels result in underestimation of extractable soil P. Thus, Mehlich-3 was very strongly correlated to Olsen P and could be evaluated for use in alkaline calcareous soils whereas Bray-1 and H3A have notable issues that would limit their applicability.

Technical Abstract: Evaluation of soil-phosphorus (P) tests is critical to ensure the accuracy of fertilizer recommendations to optimize crop yield while minimizing negative environmental consequences. Olsen-P is the most commonly used soil-P test for alkaline calcareous soils found in Idaho and the Western United States. The Bray-1 test is commonly used in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) on neutral to acidic soils but underestimates P in alkaline calcareous soils. Mehlich-3 has been evaluated throughout various regions in the United States. Little data evaluating the test exists on soils in the Western United States. Additionally, the comparatively newly developed H3A test, a component of the soil health tool, has not been widely evaluated on alkaline calcareous soils. Soil samples from the 0- to 30-cm depth were collected from agricultural fields throughout Idaho and analyzed using Bray-1, H3A, Mehlich-3, and Olsen P extractants. Results suggested that Olsen P was strongly correlated with Mehlich-3, while Bray-1 and H3A were not correlated with Olsen P. Both the Bray-1 and H3A test underestimated extractable P when compared with the Olsen P test, whereas the Mehlich-3 overestimated. A threshold point in calcium carbonate (i.e., inorganic carbon (IC)) of 6.7 and 5.1 mg kg-1 for the Bray-1 and H3A was obtained, respectively, that indicated inorganic carbon concentrations at or above these levels result in underestimation of extractable soil P. Thus, Mehlich-3 was very strongly correlated to Olsen P and could be evaluated for use in alkaline calcareous soils whereas Bray-1 and H3A have notable issues that would limit their applicability.