Assessing soil health and runoff water quality in southern Piedmont grazing systems
Hendricks, Taylor Jane
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Grazing systems with the ability to retain nutrients are necessary to sustainable agriculture. The objectives of this study were to determine: distribution of C and P in Southern Piedmont pastures; potential for in situ, visible and near-infrared (VNIR) to predict soil C as loss-on-ignition (LOI) or permanganate oxidizable C (POXC); and relationships of soil C and P to concentrations of dissolved organic C (DOC) and dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP) in runoff. Soil samples were collected from 10 pastures, analyzed for VNIR in situ, and BD, LOI, POXC, and soil P in the laboratory. Runoff samples were analyzed for DOC and DRP and relationships between soil C and P were determined. When soil variables were measured at different distances from pasture equipage, various trends were found. The use of VNIR reflectance spectra will need further investigation. Runoff concentrations of DOC and DRP showed linear trends to LOI and soil P, respectively.