Jump to Main Content
Simulating Soil Phosphorus Dynamics for a Phosphorus Loss Quantification Tool
- Vadas, Peter A., Joern, Brad C., Moore, Philip A.
- Journal of environmental quality 2012 v.41 no.6 pp. 1750-1757
- bioturbation, fertilizers, leaching, mixing, models, no-tillage, pastures, phosphorus, pollution, runoff, soil depth, soil properties, topsoil, water quality
- Pollution of fresh waters by agricultural phosphorus (P) is a water quality concern. Because soils can contribute significantly to P loss in runoff, it is important to assess how management affects soil P status over time, which is often done with models. Our objective was to describe and validate soil P dynamics in the Annual P Loss Estimator (APLE) model. APLE is a user-friendly spreadsheet model that simulates P loss in runoff and soil P dynamics over 10 yr for a given set of runoff, erosion, and management conditions. For soil P dynamics, APLE simulates two layers in the topsoil, each with three inorganic P pools and one organic P pool. It simulates P additions to soil from manure and fertilizer, distribution among pools, mixing between layers due to tillage and bioturbation, leaching between and out of layers, crop P removal, and loss by surface runoff and erosion. We used soil P data from 25 published studies to validate APLE’s soil P processes. Our results show that APLE reliably simulated soil P dynamics for a wide range of soil properties, soil depths, P application sources and rates, durations, soil P contents, and management practices. We validated APLE specifically for situations where soil P was increasing from excessive P inputs, where soil P was decreasing due to greater outputs than inputs, and where soil P stratification occurred in no-till and pasture soils. Successful simulations demonstrate APLE’s potential to be applied to major management scenarios related to soil P loss in runoff and erosion.