The critical soil P levels for crop yield, soil fertility and environmental safety in different soil types

Z.H. Bai, H.G. Li, X.Y. Yang, B.K. Zhou, X.J. Shi, B.R. Wang, D.C. Li, J.B. Shen, Q. Chen, W. Qin, O. Oenema, F.S. Zhang

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164 Citations (Scopus)


Sufficient soil phosphorus (P) is important for achieving optimal crop production, but excessive soil P levels may create a risk of P losses and associated eutrophication of surface waters. The aim of this study was to determine critical soil P levels for achieving optimal crop yields and minimal P losses in common soil types and dominant cropping systems in China. Four long-term experiment sites were selected in China. The critical level of soil Olsen-P for crop yield was determined using the linear-plateau model. The relationships between the soil total P, Olsen-P and CaCl2-P were evaluated using two-segment linear model to determine the soil P fertility rate and leaching change-point. The critical levels of soil Olsen-P for optimal crop yield ranged from 10.9 mg kg(-1) to 21.4 mg kg(-1), above which crop yield response less to the increasing of soil Olsen-P. The P leaching change-points of Olsen-P ranged from 39.9 mg kg(-1) to 90.2 mg kg(-1), above which soil CaCl2-P greatly increasing with increasing soil Olsen-P. Similar change-point was found between soil total P and Olsen-P. Overall, the change-point ranged from 4.6 mg kg(-1) to 71.8 mg kg(-1) among all the four sites. These change-points were highly affected by crop specie, soil type, pH and soil organic matter content. The three response curves could be used to access the soil Olsen-P status for crop yield, soil P fertility rate and soil P leaching risk for a sustainable soil P management in field.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-37
JournalPlant and Soil
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • silty clay loam
  • phosphate adsorption
  • calcareous soils
  • winter-wheat
  • food-chain
  • atr-ftir
  • olsen p
  • phosphorus
  • china
  • goethite

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