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Simulating long-term phosphorus, nitrogen, and carbon dynamics to advance nutrient assessment in dryland cropping


Das, BT and Schmidt, S and Biggs, J and Lester, DW and Bourne, N and Huth, NI, Simulating long-term phosphorus, nitrogen, and carbon dynamics to advance nutrient assessment in dryland cropping, Field Crops Research, 285 Article 108590. ISSN 0378-4290 (2022) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2022 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.fcr.2022.108590


Soil chemical fertility has steadily declined in tropical and subtropical agriculture with depleted stocks of phosphorus (P), nitrogen (N), and carbon (C). Assessing the dynamics of these elements and their interactions on crop productivity in dryland cropping are complex because climate often dictates crop nutrient response. This results in under- or over- fertilising crops, suboptimal crop yield, and fertiliser inefficiency. The Agricultural Productions Systems sIMulator (APSIM) model accounts for C x N x climate interactions, but simulation of P dynamics is constrained by a dearth of suitable data. To address this problem, we used a novel approach to simulate P, N, and C dynamics at a 35-year long-term field trial, where a broad range of N (0, 40, 80, 120kgha-1) and P (0, 10, 20kgha-1) fertiliser rates were consistently applied. We parameterised the soil P model with quantified adsorption isotherms and by assuming correspondence between conceptual soil P pools and Hedley fractionation pools. Soil N and C dynamics were parameterised with measured organic N, C, and charcoal content to estimate organic matter decay coefficients, pool sizes, and C:N ratios. APSIM accounted for variation in mean N export (94%), crop yield (88%), and P export (62%) across the 12 treatments, and reproduced interannual variation in NנP effects for crop yield and N export, where crop response was strongly mediated by N supply and water availability. APSIM also identified the long-term depletion or accumulation of soil P, N, and C in most treatments. P fractionation and isotherm measurements are labour intensive but worthwhile, and future efforts should work to consolidate a database for different soil types. Better informed P modelling will provide insights into the effects of climate variability on soil fertility and crop productivity, and guide management practices to deliver better fertiliser efficiency and maintain soil organic C.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:APSIM, soil P model, Hedley fractionation, phosphorus isotherm, sustainable cropping systems
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Soil sciences
Research Field:Soil chemistry and soil carbon sequestration (excl. carbon sequestration science)
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the agricultural, food and veterinary sciences
UTAS Author:Das, BT (Ms Bianca Das)
UTAS Author:Schmidt, S (Professor Susanne Schmidt)
ID Code:151561
Year Published:2022
Deposited By:TIA - Research Institute
Deposited On:2022-08-01
Last Modified:2022-11-10

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