Effects of tillage and phosphorus placement on phosphorus runoff losses in a grain sorghum-soybean rotation

J Environ Qual. Jul-Aug 2001;30(4):1324-30. doi: 10.2134/jeq2001.3041324x.


Phosphorus enhances eutrophication of fresh water bodies. This study was conducted to determine the influence of tillage and P placement on P losses in runoff water from a somewhat poorly drained soil (Woodson silt loam [fine, smectitic, thermic Abruptic Argiaquoll], 1.0-1.5% slope) in a grain sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moenchl-soybean [Glycine mar (L.) Merr] rotation. Chisel-disk-field cultivate (ChT), ridge-till (RT), and no-till (NT) in combination with 0 kg P ha(-1) or 24 kg P ha(-1) broadcast or knifed (applied prior to planting grain sorghum) were studied. Runoff volume and losses of sediment and P were summed over the growing season. Significant interactions between tillage and P placement for soluble P losses were found. For example, soluble P loss in 1999 for NT-broadcast in grain sorghum was 358 g ha(-1); significantly greater than 31 g ha(-1) for NT-knife or 23 g ha(-1) for NT-check. Similar results were found for RT but no such differences were found for ChT. Bioavailable P losses were generally highest with broadcast P placement and for NT and RT. Total P losses were significantly higher at 959 g ha(-1) with broadcast P on grain sorghum in 1998, compared with 521 g ha(-1) for the check and 659 g ha(-1) for the knifed P applications. Total P losses in 1999 for soybeans were only 18 g ha(-1) for NT, which was significantly lower than 75 g ha(-1) for ChT and 66 g ha(-1) for RT. The results indicate that broadcast P applications on RT and NT will increase P losses, but the influence of tillage was not consistent.

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture*
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Eutrophication*
  • Phosphorus / analysis*
  • Phosphorus / chemistry
  • Soil Pollutants / analysis*
  • Soybeans
  • Water Movements
  • Water Pollutants / analysis*


  • Soil Pollutants
  • Water Pollutants
  • Phosphorus