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Finnish trends in phosphorus balances and soil test phosphorus

By Risto Uusitalo, Eila Turtola, Juha Grönroos, Juhani Kivistö, Väinö Mäntylahti, Ari Turtola, Riitta Lemola and Tapio Salo


Soil test phosphorus (P) concentration has a major influence on the dissolved P concentration in runoff from agricultural soils. Thus, trends in soil test P partly determine the development of pollution potential of agricultural activities. We reviewed the changes of soil test P and P balances in Finnish agriculture, and assessed the current setting of P loss potential after two Agri-Environmental Programs. Phosphorus balance of the Finnish agriculture has decreased from +35 kg ha–1 of the 1980’s to about +8 kg P ha–1 today. As a consequence, the 50-yr upward trend in soil test P concentrations has probably levelled out in the late 1990’s, as suggested by sampling of about 1600 fields and by a modelling exercise. For the majority of our agricultural soils, soil test P concentrations are currently at a level at which annual P fertilization is unlikely to give measurable yield responses. Soils that benefit from annual P applications are more often found in farms specialized in cereal production, whereas farms specialized in non-cereal plant production and animal production have higher soil test P concentrations. An imbalance in P cycling between plant (feed) and animal production is obvious, and regional imbalances are a result of concentration of animal farms in some parts of the country. A major concern in future will be the fate of manure P in those regions where animal production intensity is further increasing

Topics: Nutrient turnover
Publisher: 'MTT Agrifood Research Finland'
Year: 2007
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Provided by: Organic Eprints

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