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Impact of fertilizer placement on phosphorus in crop, soil, and run-off water in a brown Chernozem in south-central Saskatchewan.



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Fertilizer phosphorus (P) application rate and method are anticipated to have important influences on crop utilization and concentration and distribution of residual P in soil. This, in turn, can influence the amount of P removed in run-off water. The objective of this thesis work was to assess the influence of fertilizer P application method and rate on soybean (Glycine max (L.)) emergence, yield, and P uptake. Additionally, the forms and distribution of residual soil P following a season of crop growth, and the off-site export of applied P in simulated snowmelt run-off water was assessed. In a controlled environment study, soybean could tolerate up to 20 kg P2O5 ha-1 placed in the seed-row without significant reduction in emergence. Soybean was grown in a field study in 2014 in south-central Saskatchewan. Two sites were utilized within the same wheat stubble field (Downslope and Upslope) where fertilizer P was soil applied in the spring (seed-placed, deep band, and broadcast and incorporated) at 20 kg P2O5 ha-1 and broadcast at three rates (20, 40, and 80 kg P2O5 ha-1), along with a control treatment receiving no fertilizer P. At the Downslope position, in-soil application of fertilizer P resulted in a greater soybean yield and P uptake than broadcast application. After harvest, higher labile P concentrations were found in the zone of fertilizer P placement in the soil. Elevated concentrations of water soluble P were noted near the soil surface with broadcast P application compared to in-soil placement methods, attributed to immobility of P and lower plant utilization. A simulated snowmelt run-off event was conducted on intact soil slabs removed from the Upslope position treatments. Fertilizer P application method had a significant influence on P export with the greatest export occurring with broadcast application. Phosphorus XANES spectroscopy provided further evidence that, qualitatively, fertilizer P application method influenced speciation of fertilizer P reaction products in calcareous soil common to the Canadian prairies. Overall, it is concluded that in-soil placement of P fertilizer is a beneficial management practice in a prairie soil to maximize agronomic benefit while minimizing potential transport of fertilizer P off the field in snowmelt run-off water.



Phosphorus management, Run-off Water



Master of Science (M.Sc.)


Soil Science


Soil Science


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