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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fort Collins, Colorado » Center for Agricultural Resources Research » Soil Management and Sugarbeet Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #394546

Research Project: Management Practices for Long Term Productivity of Great Plains Agriculture

Location: Soil Management and Sugarbeet Research

Title: Addressing conservation practice limitations and trade-offs for reducing phosphorus loss from agricultural fields

item Kleinman, Peter
item OSMOND, DEANNA - North Carolina State University
item CHRISTIANSON, LAURA - University Of Illinois
item FLATEN, DON - University Of Manitoba
item IPPOLITO, JIM - Colorado State University
item JARVIE, HELEN - University Of Waterloo
item KAYE, JASON - Pennsylvania State University
item King, Kevin
item Leytem, April
item MCGRATH, JOSHUA - University Of Kentucky
item NELSON, NATHAN - Kansas State University
item SHOBER, AMY - University Of Delaware
item Smith, Douglas
item STAVER, KENNETH - University Of Maryland
item SHARPLEY, ANDREW - University Of Arkansas

Submitted to: Agricultural and Environmental Letters
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/22/2022
Publication Date: 7/30/2022
Citation: Kleinman, P.J., Osmond, D.L., Christianson, L.E., Flaten, D.N., Ippolito, J.A., Jarvie, H.P., Kaye, J.P., King, K.W., Leytem, A.B., McGrath, J.M., Nelson, N.O., Shober, A.L., Smith, D.R., Staver, K.W., Sharpley, A.N. 2022. Addressing conservation practice limitations and trade-offs for reducing phosphorus loss from agricultural fields. Agricultural and Environmental Letters. 7(2). Article e20084.

Interpretive Summary: Conservation practices have long been at the core of agricultural watershed programs to improve water quality. Not all conservation practices are equally effective in mitigating different water quality impacts, and some may actually pose trade-offs that undermine watershed outcomes. This review offers authoritative insight into the trade-offs posed by different conservation practices in mitigating phosphorus loss from agriculture.

Technical Abstract: Conservation practices that reduce nutrient and soil loss from agricultural lands to water are fundamental to watershed management programs. Avoiding tradeoffs of conservation practices is essential to the successful mitigation of watershed phosphorus (P) losses. We review documented tradeoffs associated with conservation practices, particularly those practices that are intended to control and trap P from agricultural sources. A regular theme is the trade-off between controlling P loss linked to sediment while increasing dissolved P losses (no-till, cover crops, vegetated buffers, constructed wetlands, sediment control basins). A variety of factors influence the degree to which these tradeoffs occur, complicated by their interaction and uncertainties associated with climate change. However, acknowledging these trade-offs and anticipating their contribution to watershed outcomes is essential to the sustainability of conservation systems.