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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 100 No. 6, p. 1757-1762
    Received: Mar 24, 2008

    * Corresponding author(s): belangergf@agr.gc.ca
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Phosphorus and Nitrogen Relationships during Spring Growth of an Aging Timothy Sward

  1. Gilles Bélanger * and
  2. Noura Ziadi
  1. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Soils and Crops Research and Development Centre, 2560 Hochelaga Blvd., Québec, QC, Canada G1V 2J3


Plant-based methods of determining P and N deficiencies require critical concentration values. We studied the response of timothy (Phleum pratense L.) to P and N fertilization over 7 yr with the objective of using relationships between P and N concentrations and dry matter (DM) yield to determine critical P and N concentrations. Timothy, seeded in 1998, was harvested during spring growth from 1999 to 2005 in an experiment with four sampling dates (stem elongation, early heading, late heading, and early flowering), four P applications (0, 15, 30, and 45 kg P ha−1), and four N applications (0, 60, 120, and 180 kg N ha−1). Maximum DM yield and, therefore, nonlimiting P and N conditions, were obtained with 120 kg N ha−1 without applied P. Under these nonlimiting conditions, relationships between P and N concentrations and DM yield changed with production years. Critical N concentration (Nc) in older swards (>4 yr; Nc = 37.0 × SB−0.35; R 2 = 0.79), expressed as a function of shoot biomass (SB), was less than previous reports on younger swards (Nc = 48.0 × SB−0.32). Critical P concentration (Pc) was also less in older swards (Pc = 3.27 × SB−0.20; R 2 = 0.68) than in younger ones (Pc = 5.23 × SB−0.40; R 2 = 0.63). Critical P concentration can also be expressed as a function of N concentration (Pc = 1.07 + 0.063N; R 2 = 0.71), a relationship independent of sward age and shoot biomass but affected by N deficiency; the slope is the same but intercept values vary from 1.31 to 1.41 when N limits shoot growth. Critical P and N concentrations can then be used to quantify the degree of P and N deficiency in young and old timothy swards.

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Copyright © 2008. American Society of AgronomyCopyright © 2008 by the American Society of Agronomy