Soil characteristics and phosphorus level effect on phosphorus loss in runoff

J Environ Qual. 2005 Aug 9;34(5):1640-50. doi: 10.2134/jeq2004.0480. Print Sep-Oct 2005.


The loss of phosphorus (P) in runoff from agricultural soils may accelerate eutrophication in lakes and streams as well as degrade surface water quality. Limited soil specific data exist on the relationship between runoff P and soil P. This study investigated the relationship between runoff dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP) and soil P for three Oklahoma benchmark soils: Richfield (fine, smectitic, mesic Aridic Argiustoll), Dennis (fine, mixed, active, thermic Aquic Argiudoll), and Kirkland (fine, mixed, superactive, thermic Udertic Paleustoll) series. These soils were selected to represent the most important agricultural soils in Oklahoma across three major land resource areas. Surface soil (0-15 cm) was collected from three designated locations, treated with diammonium phosphate (18-46-0) to establish a wide range of water-soluble phosphorus (WSP) (3.15-230 mg kg(-1)) and Mehlich-3 phosphorus (M3P) (27.8-925 mg kg(-1)). Amended soils were allowed to reach a steady state 210 d before simulated rainfall (75 mm h(-1)). Runoff was collected for 30 min from bare soil boxes (1.0 x 0.42 m and 5% slope) and analyzed for DRP and total P. Soil samples collected immediately before rainfall simulation were analyzed for the following: M3P, WSP, ammonium oxalate P saturation index (PSI(ox)), water-soluble phosphorus saturation index (PSI(WSP)), and phosphorus saturation index calculated from M3P and phosphorus sorption maxima (P(sat)). The DRP in runoff was highly related (p < 0.001) to M3P for individual soil series (r2 > 0.92). Highly significant relationships (p < 0.001) were found between runoff DRP and soil WSP for the individual soil series (r2 > 0.88). Highly significant relationships (p < 0.001) existed between DRP and different P saturation indexes. Significant differences (p < 0.05) among the slopes of the regressions for the DRP-M3P, DRP-WSP, DRP-PSI(ox), DRP-PSI(WSP), and DRP-P(sat) relationships indicate that the relationships are soil specific and phosphorus management decisions should consider soil characteristics.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Fertilizers / analysis*
  • Oklahoma
  • Phosphorus / analysis*
  • Rain
  • Regression Analysis
  • Soil Pollutants / analysis*
  • Soil*
  • Spectrophotometry, Atomic
  • Water Movements*


  • Fertilizers
  • Soil
  • Soil Pollutants
  • Phosphorus