The sound management of agricultural soils that are heavily loaded with phosphorus (P) involves minimizing the losses of P responsible for eutrophication of surface waters, while ensuring enough P for crops. This paper describes a simple model to examine the compatibility of these two objectives in acid sandy soils in a temperate humid climate. The model is based on several assumptions regarding reversible and irreversible P sorption by P-reactive soil compounds (mainly poorly crystalline Fe and Al oxides) and release of P to water (water-P test). Model inputs are amount of P leached, P uptake by crops, and contents of poorly crystalline Fe and Al oxides in soil. The model predicts that reducing the amount of leached P to what is environmentally acceptable (e.g. 0.44 kg P ha1 year1, equivalent to 1 kg P2O5 ha1 year1) results in the long run in available soil P test values below target concentrations for optimum crop growth. When the amount of leached P is set to a fixed value the model predicts that soils with large contents of Fe and Al oxides can maintain the initial soil P test values for longer periods than other soils. The content in available P decreases if fertilizer P is applied to the soil at a rate equal to P uptake by crops. These results stress the difficulties involved in trying to make agricultural and environmental needs compatible in acid sandy soils.
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