Runoff Phosphorus loss immediately after poultry manure application as influenced by the application rate and tillage

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Excessive or N-based application of poultry manure for crops may result in significant risk of P loss with surface runoff. This study assessed P loss immediately after poultry manure application to soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] residue with and without tillage at eight Iowa fields. Manure from chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus) or turkeys (Melleagris gollopavo) was applied at intended rates of 0, 84, or 168 kg total N ha–1 (total P was 0, 21–63, 50–123 kg P ha–1, respectively) with three replications. Simulated rainfall (76 mm h–1) was applied to 3-m2 sections of larger field plots with 2 to 7% slope, usually within 2 d of application, to collect runoff during 30 min. Runoff was analyzed for concentrations of sediment, dissolved reactive P (DRPC), bioavailable P (BAPC), and total P (TPRC). Non-incorporated manure consistently increased (P  0.10) concentrations of all runoff P fractions in five sites, but there were increasing trends at all sites, and on average manure increased DRPC, BAPC, and TPRC 32, 23, and 12 times, respectively, over the control. Tillage to incorporate manure reduced DRPC, BAPC, and TPRC by 88, 89, and 77% on average, respectively, although in non-manured plots tillage seldom affected DRPC or BAPC and often increased TPRC. Tillage increased sediment concentration in runoff but not enough to offset the benefits of manure P incorporation. Runoff P loads generally followed trends of runoff P concentrations but were more variable, and significant treatment effects were less frequent. Overall, incorporation of manure by tillage was very effective at reducing P loss during runoff events shortly after poultry manure application under the conditions of this study.

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