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Impact of Gypsum Applied to Grass Buffer Strips on Reducing Soluble P in Surface Water Runoff

Watts, D.B., Torbert, H.A.
Journal of environmental quality 2009 v.38 no.4 pp. 1511
gypsum, filter strips, phosphorus, agricultural runoff, surface water, water pollution, animal manure management, poultry manure, land application, best management practices, soil amendments, cost effectiveness, water quality, Festuca arundinacea, pastures, application rate, solubility, Alabama
The threat of P transport from land applied manure has resulted in water quality concerns. Research was conducted to evaluate gypsum as a soil amendment applied to grass buffer strips for reducing soluble P in surface runoff. A simulated concentrated flow was created in an established tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) pasture. Poultry litter (PL) was applied at a rate of 250 kg N ha-1 to the upper 3.05 m of each plot, while gypsum was applied at rates of 0, 1, 3.2, and 5.6 Mg ha-1to the lower 1.52 m of the plot functioning as a grass buffer strip. Two 30-min runoff events (4 L min-1) were conducted, immediately after PL application and 4 wk later to determined soluble P concentration in the surface water samples. The greatest concentration of soluble P was in the runoff event occurring immediately after the PL application. Gypsum applied to grass buffer strips was effective in reducing soluble P concentrations (32-40%) in surface runoff, while the untreated buffer strip was somewhat effective in reducing soluble P (18%). No significant differences were observed between gypsum rates, suggesting that land managers would achieve the greatest benefit from the lowest application rate (1Mgha-1). In the second runoff event, although concentrations of soluble P in the surface water runoff were greatly reduced, the effect of gypsum had disappeared. Thus, these results show that gypsum is most effective in reducing the initial P losses from PL application when applied to grass buffer strips. The information obtained from this study may be useful in aiding land managers in developing management practices that reduce soluble P loss at the edge of a field.