Comparison of soil phosphorus index systems for grassland in the cross‐border region of Ireland

Sara E. Vero, Donnacha Doody, Rachel Cassidy, Suzanne Higgins, Gillian Nicholl, Julie Campbell, Per‐Erik Mellander, Noeleen McDonald, Edward Burgess, Karen Daly, Erin Sherry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background
The use of soil phosphorus (P) tests and index systems provides a guide for agronomic nutrient requirements and is frequently also used to estimate risk of P losses to watercourses. Use of soil testing and management based on the results thereof is mandated in some regions. Several P extraction methods are available which evaluate different P pools and are designed for particular soil types. Further to this, index systems categorising specific ranges of plant-available P, differ. Hence, translation between different tests and index systems is not straightforward. In cross-border regions, where hydrologic basins encompass more than one political jurisdiction, different tests and rules are implemented in adjacent lands. This can create disparities in land management, confusion as to what legislation applies and obscures the impacts of best management practices at catchment scale.
Aims
The aim of this research was to compare the Morgan's and Olsen soil tests used to quantify plant-available P and the respective index systems, in a border region of the Republic of Ireland (ROI) – Northern Ireland (NI).
Methods
Olsen, Morgans and water extractable P (WEP) were evaluated (n = 1,038). Statistical analysis was conducted to derive conversion equations to translate between the statutory test methods and comparison of the respective index categories was performed.
Results
The conversion equations compared favourably with previous attempts. A stronger relationship was observed between Morgan P and WEP (R2 = 0.60) than between Olsen P and WEP (R2 = 0.45) (including pH and site as interaction factors). The ROI index system was found to indicate lower levels of plant available P in the soil compared to the NI system, for the same soils.
Conclusions
The differences in categorisation of P availability using either index system creates differences in fertiliser recommendations and also perceived aquatic risks even within small cross-border catchments. This study points to a wider implication for international cross-border catchments, suggesting that evaluation of the relationships between adjacent national soil index systems is required to achieve harmonised management of shared waterbodies. Neither index system is preferred, but a combination of soil P tests incorporating both agronomic and environmentally oriented analyses may have utility in future decision support tools.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-119
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science
Volume185
Issue number1
Early online date28 Nov 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the ( www.catchmentcare.eu ). The CatchmentCARE project is supported by the , managed by the (). The views and opinions expressed in this document do not necessarily reflect those of the European Commission or the SEUPB. The study also incorporated legacy data from () and archived soil samples supplied by the . CatchmentCARE project project reference IVA5058— European Union's INTERREG VA Programme Special EU Programmes Body SEUPB INTERREG IIIA 020204—Blackwater TRACE Teagasc Agricultural Catchments Programme

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Wiley-VCH GmbH

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the CatchmentCARE project (project reference IVA5058?www.catchmentcare.eu). The CatchmentCARE project is supported by the European Union's INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). The views and opinions expressed in this document do not necessarily reflect those of the European Commission or the SEUPB. The study also incorporated legacy data from INTERREG IIIA (020204?Blackwater TRACE) and archived soil samples supplied by the Teagasc Agricultural Catchments Programme.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Wiley-VCH GmbH

Keywords

  • Plant Science
  • Soil Science
  • water quality
  • harmonisation
  • soil fertility
  • grassland
  • soil index systems
  • phosphorus

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Comparison of soil phosphorus index systems for grassland in the cross‐border region of Ireland'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this