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Soil phosphorus modeling for modern agriculture requires balance of science and practicality: a perspective


Das, B and Huth, N and Probert, M and Condron, L and Schmidt, S, Soil phosphorus modeling for modern agriculture requires balance of science and practicality: a perspective, Journal of Environmental Quality, 48, (5) pp. 1281-1294. ISSN 1537-2537 (2019) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2019 The Author(s). Re-use requires permission from the publisher.

DOI: doi:10.2134/jeq2019.05.0201


The use of phosphorus (P) fertilizers in arable crop and pastoral systems is expected to change as modern agriculture is challenged to produce more food with fewer inputs. Agricultural systems models offer a dual purpose to support and integrate recent scientific advances and to identify strategies for farmers to improve nutrient efficiency. However, compared with nitrogen and carbon, advances in P modeling have been less successful. We assessed the potential opportunity of P modeling to increase P efficiency for modern agriculture and identified the current challenges associated with modeling P dynamics at the field scale. Three major constraints were (i) a paucity of detailed field datasets to model strategies aimed at increasing P use efficiency, (ii) a limited ability to predict P cycling and availability under the local effects of climate change, and (iii) a restricted ability to match measured soil P fractions to conceptual and modelable pools in soils with different mineral properties. To improve P modeling success, modelers will need to walk a tightrope to balance the roles of assisting detailed empirical research and providing practical land management solutions. We conclude that a framework for interdisciplinary collaboration is needed to acquire suitable datasets, continually assess the need for model adjustment, and provide flexibility for progression of scientific theory. Such an approach is likely to advance P management for increased P use efficiency.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Soil sciences
Research Field:Soil chemistry and soil carbon sequestration (excl. carbon sequestration science)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Soils
UTAS Author:Das, B (Ms Bianca Das)
ID Code:151747
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:10
Deposited By:TIA - Research Institute
Deposited On:2022-08-04
Last Modified:2022-11-10

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