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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbus, Ohio » Soil Drainage Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #363310

Research Project: Agricultural Water Management in Poorly Drained Midwestern Agroecosystems

Location: Soil Drainage Research

Title: Phosphorus and soil health management practices

item Duncan, Emily
item OSMOND, DEANNA - North Carolina State University
item SHOBER, AMY - University Of Delaware
item STARR, LAURA - Kansas State University
item TOMLINSON, PETER - Kansas State University
item Kovar, John
item Moorman, Thomas
item PETERSON, HEIDI - International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI)
item FIORELLINO, NICOLE - University Of Maryland
item REID, KEITH - Agriculture And Agri-Food Canada

Submitted to: Agricultural and Environmental Letters
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/13/2019
Publication Date: 7/25/2019
Citation: Duncan, E.W., Osmond, D.L., Shober, A.L., Starr, L., Tomlinson, P., Kovar, J.L., Moorman, T.B., Peterson, H., Fiorellino, N.M., Reid, K. 2019. Phosphorus and soil health management practices. Agricultural and Environmental Letters. 4(1):190014.

Interpretive Summary: Soil health and P loss is not often discussed in the producer and research community alike. We wanted to write a commentary discussion trade-offs commonly associated with soil health management practices and P loss. While not all best management practices can mitigate N and P losses, this is often not clear in materials available from government and university organizations. We hope that future materials and research can clearly discuss these trade-offs.

Technical Abstract: Soil health practices and their associated benefits attract considerable attention in the agronomic and research worlds. While soil health is a broad term with variable definitions, it has practically been tied to: improving soil condition through reducing or eliminating tillage and increasing the amount of soil cover and living roots primarily via cover crops. In this paper, we briefly review soil health ‘friendly’ practices such as conservation tillage and cover crops and their impact on phosphorus (P) loss. After reviewing current peer-reviewed publications, we cannot substantiate reductions in P losses due these practices. We believe that recommendations made to agricultural communities should discuss trade-offs associated with these practices, emphasizing that they may not effectively reduce all nutrient loading from agricultural fields.