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Sites with excessive phosphorus have good soil health scores, and applied manure or compost to the field.
23 sites in our study have what is considered excessive phosphorus, with more than 300 pounds per acre of available phosphorus in their soils. This graph shows the kinds of organic matter inputs applied to our 23 sites with excessive phosphorus. Manure was applied to 57% of sites, compost to 35% of sites, and grazing occurred on 30% of sites. Known 3-year totals of all organic matter inputs applied to these sites range from 0.75 to 280 tons/acre, with a median 3-year total application of 22 tons/acre.
Manure and compost are excellent soil amendments to improve a soil’s health, increase soil organic matter, and increase fertility. The 23 sites with excessive phosphorus all had good to excellent soil health scores, ranging from 7 to 36 with a median score of 17. These soil health scores show how beneficial manure and compost are for soil health. However, no good deed goes unpunished, and the downside of frequent large manure and compost applications can be excessive build-up of phosphorus in soils.
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Elizabeth Black is the producer of the Citizen Science Soil Health Project
The Citizen Science Soil Health Project
4340 N 13th St.
Boulder, CO 80304