Abstract Previous studies have reported that the trailing shoe application technique reduces phosphorus (P) in the runoff postslurry application when compared to the traditional splash-plate application technique. However, the effectiveness of the trailing-shoe technique as a means of reducing P losses has not been evaluated when slurry is applied during periods of high soil moisture levels and lower herbage covers. To address this issue, three treatments were examined in a 3 × 4 factorial design split-plot experiment, with treatments comprising three slurry treatments: control (no slurry), splashplate and trailing-shoe, and four slurry application dates: 7 December, 18 January, 1 March and 10 April. Dairy cow slurry was applied at a rate of 20 m 3 /ha, while simulated runoff was generated 2, 9 and 16 days later and analysed for a range of P fractions. Dissolved reactive P concentrations in runoff at day two was 41% lower when slurry was applied using the trailing-shoe technique, compared to the splash-plate technique (P < 0.05). In addition, P concentrations in runoff were higher (P < 0.05) from slurry applied in December and March compared to slurry applied in January or April, coinciding with periods of higher soil moisture contents. While the latter highlights that ‘calendar’-based non-spreading periods might not always achieve the desired consequences, the study demonstrated that further field-scale investigations into the trailing shoe as a mitigation measure to reduced P loss from agricultural soils is warranted.
Irish Journal of Agricultural and Food Research – de Gruyter
Published: Jun 1, 2016
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