The fate of fertiliser P in soil under pasture and uptake by subterraneum clover – a field study using 33P-labelled single superphosphate
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Background and aims
Single superphosphate (SSP) is a major source of phosphorus (P) used in grazing systems to improve pasture production. The aim of this experiment was to determine the fate of fertiliser P in clover pastures under field conditions.
A procedure was developed to radiolabel SSP granules with a 33P radiotracer, which was then applied to the soil surface (equivalent to ~12 kg P ha−1) of a clover pasture. Recovery of fertiliser P was determined in clover shoots, fertiliser granules and soil fractions (surface layer: 0–4 cm and sub-surface layer: 4–8 cm).
The P diffusion patterns of the 33P-labelled SSP granules were not significantly different to those of commercial SSP granules (P > 0.05). Recovery of fertiliser P in clover shoots was 30–35 %. A considerable proportion of the fertiliser P (~28 %) was recovered in the surface soil layer and was largely inorganic P.
Recovery of fertiliser P by clover plants was up to 35 % in the year of application. Much of the fertiliser P in soil fractions was inorganic P, which highlights the importance of inorganic P forms and dynamics in soils under clover pasture on a single season timeframe at these sites.
KeywordsFertilizer Improved grasslands NSP Phosphorus cycling Trifolium subterraneum
Analysis of variance
Australasian Soil and Plant Analysis Council
Inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy
Liquid scintillation counter
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Phosphorus buffering index
Phosphorus use efficiency
Polyvinyl chloride cylinders
Water soluble phosphorus
Financial support from Meat & Livestock Australia and the Australian Wool Innovation is gratefully acknowledged (Project: B.PUE.0102). The authors would like to thank Mr John Cooper, Mr Andrew Craig, Mr Colin Rivers, Ms Caroline Johnston, Mr Adam Stefanski and Ms Jane Carruthers for technical assistance. The authors are grateful to Dr John McIvor and Dr Merv Probert for constructive criticism on this manuscript. The authors appreciate the South Australian Research & Development Institute (SARDI) who provided land for this experiment.
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