Molybdate-reactive phosphorus losses in surface and drainage waters from permanent grassland

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Hawkins, J. M. B. and Scholefield, D. 1996. Molybdate-reactive phosphorus losses in surface and drainage waters from permanent grassland. Journal of Environmental Quality. 25 (4), pp. 727-732.

AuthorsHawkins, J. M. B. and Scholefield, D.

Although the loss of P in agricultural runoff can provide freshwater eutrophication, little information is available on losses from permanent grasslands. Thus, 14 lysimeter plots (each of 1 ha), established in 1982 on a clay loam soil under grazed grassland management, were monitored between 1989 and 1991 for release of molybdate-reactive phosphorus (MRP). The plots enabled the daily measurement of discharge through field drains (to 85 cm) or by surface lateral runoff (to 30 cm). Sward type was either perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) or a perennial ryegrass-clover (Trifolium sp.) mixture. The plots were grazed continuously by beef cattle and received either 200 or 400 kg N ha−1 yr−1 in various combinations. Having collected >7500 data points during the 3 yr, it was found that there was no significant difference between the effects of either agronomic or drainage variables (P > 0.05) within years. However, there was a significant difference (P < 0.05) between drainage variables when the data from the 3 yr were combined, as there were larger MRP losses from undrained treatments. There was no relationship between concentration of MRP and drainage volume. The MRP concentrations ranged from 0.01 to 0.7 mg L−1 with an average concentration of 0.02 mg L−1. Losses of MRP as great as 0.4 kg ha−1 yr−1 were measured in surface lateral runoff from undrained plots and 0.2 kg ha−1 yr−1 in water percolating through field drains. The data show this type of grassland system may have the potential to be an important diffuse source of P to fresh waters.

Year of Publication1996
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Journal citation25 (4), pp. 727-732
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Open accessPublished as non-open access
Funder project or code58
Project: 2101 529
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Print01 Jul 1996
PublisherAmerican Society of Agronomy (ASA)

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