Tile drainage systems have been identified as a significant conduit for phosphorus (P) losses to surface water, but P indices do not currently account for this transport pathway in a meaningful way. Several P indices mention tile drains, but most account for either the reduction in surface runoff or the enhanced transport through tiles rather than both simultaneously. A summary of the current state of how tile drains are accounted for within P indices is provided, and the challenges in predicting the risk of P losses through tile drains that are relative to actual losses are discussed. A framework for a component P Index is described, along with a proposal to incorporate predictions of losses through tile drains as a component within this framework. Options for calibrating and testing this component are discussed.
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