Broad ranges of factors (parent materials, climate, plant community, landscape position, management) can influence macronutrient availability in rangeland soils. Two important factors in production-scale paddocks are the influences of location in space and land management. This study examined plant-available macronutrients (total mineral and nitrate-N, P, S, K, Ca, and Mg) in soils, with paired sets of probes (anion and cation exchange membranes) that simulate uptake by plant roots. Data were collected from sets of paddocks of southern tallgrass prairie in central Oklahoma, managed by four stocking methods during the 2015 growing season (mid-March, growth initiation by native grasses, and early-August, time of peak living plant biomass). Macronutrient availability in the 0–7.5 cm and 7.5–15 cm depths were determined at locations in close proximity to water (water tanks and 25% of the distance between tanks and paddock mid-points (PMP)), and distances near the mid-points of paddocks (70% of the distance between water and mid-points (0.7 PMP), and PMP). All of the tested stocking methods affected levels of availability of macronutrients at different times of the growing season, and among different locations within paddocks. Such responses indicated stocking methods may not result in uniform distributions of flux in plant-available macronutrients. The overall exposure of landscapes and arrangement of features within paddocks also appeared to influence macronutrient distributions.
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