University Of Tasmania

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

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 10:41 authored by Bianca DasBianca Das, Huth, N, Probert, M, Condron, L, Schmidt, S
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.


Publication title

Journal of Environmental Quality










Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA)


John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Place of publication

United States

Rights statement

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

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Soils; Understanding the impact of natural hazards caused by climate change; Chemical fertilisers