Estimation of the degree of soil P saturation from Brazilian Mehlich-1 P data and field investigations on P losses from agricultural sites in Minas Gerais

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

The degree of phosphorus saturation (DPS) of agricultural soils is studied worldwide for risk assessment of phosphorus (P) losses. In previous studies, DPS could be reliably estimated from water-soluble P (WSP) for European and Brazilian soils. In the present study, we correlated measured WSP and Mehlich-1 P (M1P) from soils of Minas Gerais (MG) and Pernambuco (PE) (R2 = 0.94, n = 59) to create a DPS map from monitoring data. The resulting DPS map showed high spatial variability and low values of DPS (54 ± 22%, mean and standard deviation; n = 1,827). Measured soil DPS values amounted to 63 ± 14% and resulted in relatively low dissolved P concentrations measured in a surface runoff study in MG. However, fertilizer grains on the soil surface led to high WSP values (>30 mg/kg) indicating high risks of dissolved P losses. We suppose that small Oxisol particles with Fe and Al hydroxides sorbed most of the dissolved fertilizer P in runoff so that P was mainly exported in particulate form. In soils with lower contents of P sorption and binding partners, e.g. Entisols in PE, this effect may be less dominant. Consequently, superficial fertilizer effects have to be considered in addition to DPS in risk assessment of P losses from agricultural areas in Brazil.

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