Publication: New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research
Author(s): CA. Lizarralde, RW. McDowell, LM. Condron, J. Brown
Applying phosphorus (P)-rich wastewater to land can significantly enrich P in topsoil and consequently increase the risk of P losses in surface runoff and leaching. We collected 654 samples of wastewater-irrigated and non-irrigated soils at seven sites across New Zealand to assess the potential P mobility in irrigated soils. The risk of P loss to surface runoff was tested by water extractable P (WEP) whereas the risk of P loss by leaching was tested by calcium chloride extractable P (CaCl2–P). The risk of P losses could be predicted only in non-irrigated soils, via a published relationship using anion storage capacity (ASC) and Olsen P. Wastewater-irrigated soils had a greater pH, WEP and CaCl2–P concentration to 30 cm depth. However, in both irrigated and non-irrigated soils a change point or threshold in ASC was found that could be used to show an increased likelihood of enhanced P leaching (as CaCl2–P) to deeper layers. In addition, the WEP and CaCl2-P thresholds can be used to signal the need for management changes to decrease the risk of P losses to surface water and groundwater.