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Dairy Heifer Manure Management, Dietary Phosphorus, and Soil Test P Effects on Runoff Phosphorus

Jokela, William E., Coblentz, Wayne K., Hoffman, Patrick C.
Journal of environmental quality 2012 v.41 no.5 pp. 1600
application rate, dairy heifers, dietary minerals, manure spreading, phosphorus, rain, rainfall simulation, runoff, silt loam soils
Manure application to cropland can contribute to runoff losses of P and eutrophication of surface waters. We conducted a series of three rainfall simulation experiments to assess the effects of dairy heifer dietary P, manure application method, application rate, and soil test P on runoff P losses from two successive simulated rainfall events. Bedded manure (18–21% solids) from dairy heifers fed diets with or without supplemental P was applied on a silt loam soil packed into 1- by 0.2-m sheet metal pans. Manure was either surface-applied or incorporated (Experiment 1) or surface-applied at two rates (Experiment 2) to supply 26 to 63 kg P ha−1. Experiment 3 evaluated runoff P from four similar nonmanured soils with average Bray P1-extractable P levels of 11, 29, 51, and 75 mg kg−1. We measured runoff quantity, total P (TP), dissolved reactive P (DRP), and total and volatile solids in runoff collected for 30 min after runoff initiation from two simulated rain events (70 mm h−1) 3 or 4 d apart. Manure incorporation reduced TP and DRP concentrations and load by 85 to 90% compared with surface application. Doubling the manure rate increased runoff DRP and TP concentrations an average of 36%. In the same experiment, P diet supplementation increased water-extractable P in manure by 100% and increased runoff DRP concentration threefold. Concentrations of solids, TP, and DRP in runoff from Rain 2 were 25 to 75% lower than from Rain 1 in Experiments 1 and 2. Runoff DRP from nonmanured soils increased quadratically with increasing soil test P. These results show that large reductions in P runoff losses can be achieved by incorporation of manure, avoiding unnecessary diet P supplementation, limiting manure application rate, and managing soils to prevent excessive soil test P levels.