Updated: January 15, 2021
By Joshua M. McGrath

Our objective was to develop a phosphorus site index (PSI) that uses readily available information to evaluate the relative risk of P transport from agricultural fields, including vegetable and row crop production and pasture based systems where P may be applied either as inorganic or organic fertilizer. Furthermore, the PSI should be applicable within all physiographic provinces present in Maryland. Phosphorus transport is controlled by site characteristics (e.g. hydrology and slope), climate, and P sources (e.g. manure, inorganic fertilizer, and soil P). The revised PSI, or the University of Maryland – Phosphorus Management Tool (UM-PMT), seeks to include new science relative to site and source factors and highlight management decisions so that the learning opportunities associated with performing a P index are more pronounced. The overall objective is to identify critical areas where there is a high P loss potential due to both a high transport potential and a large source of P, and also to encourage the use of management practices in those critical source areas that protect water quality.

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