• Environmental aspects of soil phosphorus testing

      Daly, Karen M.; Casey, A. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2005)
      Soil phosphorus testing in Ireland uses Morgan’s reagent from samples taken to 10 cm depth for agronomic recommendations. However, its suitability as an environmental indicator has been questioned in terms of sample depth and extraction solution. Seven grassland sites were sampled to depths of 2, 5 and 10 cm and extracted for Morgan’s P, the standard agronomic test, as well as iron-oxide impregnated paper strip P (FeOP), calcium chloride extractable P (CaCl2-P) and water soluble P (WSP), all proposed as environmental soil tests. Extractable soil P decreased with increasing sample depth, as did variances in each test, such that, 2 cm samples had highest concentrations and variances. The current standard sample depth (10 cm) was linearly related to corresponding data from samples taken to 2 and 5 cm, indicating that surface soil P can be consistently estimated from the current standard depth. When soil tests were compared with dissolved reactive P (DRP) in overland flow collected from two field sites, certain soil tests were better indicators of P loss than others. The relative difference in Morgan’s P values at the standard sample depth (10 cm) was reflected in the relative difference in P loss between the two sites. Average values of DRP collected from two sites ranged from 0.032 to 0.067 mg/l at the low P site and 0.261 to 0.620 at the high P site. Average DRP values from the high P site and maximum DRP values from the low P site were simulated using water-soluble P extraction at water to soil ratios 5 to 250 l/kg. In this study, Morgan’s P to 10 cm gave a good indication of the relative difference in DRP loss between the two sites.