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The effect of rain and runoff when assessing timing of manure application and dissolved phosphorus loss in runoff

Vadas, Peter A., Jokela, William E., Franklin, Dory H., Endale, Dinku M.
Journal of the American Water Resources Association 2011 v.47 no.4 pp. 877
rain, agricultural runoff, phosphorus, losses from soil, application timing, animal manures, adsorption, simulation models, water pollution
A significant pathway of nonpoint source, agricultural phosphorus (P) transport is surface runoff, to which surface-applied manure can contribute. Increasing the time between manure application and the first rain-runoff event is proposed as a practice to reduce runoff P loss. Few studies have investigated this aspect of manure P loss in runoff, with mixed results. Studies observing a decrease in runoff P as the time between application and the first rain-runoff attribute the decrease to adsorption of manure P by soil and manure drying effects, but do not consider the effect of storm hydrology on runoff P. We ran the manure P runoff model SurPhos with data from nine published studies that investigated the effect of time between application and the first rain event on runoff P. SurPhos successfully simulated the experimental conditions in the studies and predicted runoff P loss. Simulation results suggest soil adsorption of manure P is not the dominant mechanism that will significantly decrease manure P availability to runoff. Rather, regardless of when the first rain-runoff event occurs, storm hydrology will significantly affect manure P loss in runoff. Although model scenarios indicate that increasing the time between manure application and the first rain-runoff event will typically decrease P loss in runoff, runoff P could be equal to or greater 30 days after application than the day after application if a more intense rain and runoff event occurs at the latter date.