Mechanisms Responsible for Soil Phosphorus Availability Differences between Sprinkler and Furrow Irrigation.J Environ Qual 2019; 48(5):1370-1379JE
From a historical perspective, human-induced soil erosion and resulting soil phosphorus (P) losses have likely occurred for thousands of years. In modern times, erosion risk and off-site P transport can be decreased if producers convert from furrow to sprinkler irrigation, but conversion may alter nutrient dynamics. Our study goal was to determine soil P dynamics in furrow- (in place since the early 1900s) versus sprinkler-irrigated (installed within the last decade) soils from four paired producer fields in Idaho. Furrow- and sprinkler-irrigated soils (0-5 cm; Aridisols) contained on average 38 and 20 mg kg of Olsen-extractable P (i.e., plant-available P), respectively; extractable P values over 40 mg kg limit Idaho producers to P application based on crop uptake only. Soil samples were also analyzed using a modified Hedley extraction. Furrow-irrigated soils contained greater inorganic P concentrations in the soluble+aluminum (Al)-bound+iron (Fe)-bound, occluded, and amorphous Fe-bound pools. Phosphorus -edge X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) spectroscopy was unable to detect Fe-associated P but indicated greater amounts of apatite-like or octacalcium phosphate-like P in furrow-irrigated producer soils, while sprinkler-irrigated fields had lower amounts of apatite-like P and greater proportions of P bound to calcite. Findings from a controlled USDA-ARS sprinkler- versus furrow-irrigation study suggested that changes in P dynamics occur slowly over time, as few differences were observed. Overall findings suggest that Fe redox chemistry or changes in calcium (Ca)-associated P in flooded conditions altered P availability under furrow irrigation, even in aridic, calcareous soils, contributing to greater Olsen-extractable P concentrations in long-term furrow-irrigated fields.