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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 58 No. 1, p. 13-16
    Received: May 17, 1965

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Influence of Drying Method and Fertility Treatments on the Total and Water Soluble Nitrogen Contents of Alfalfa1

  1. J. C. Burns,
  2. C. H. Noller and
  3. C. L. Rhykerd2



An established stand of Ranger alfalfa was fertilized with various combinations of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. One sample of freshly harvested material was immediately immersed in liquid nitrogen, freeze-dried, and stored in a refrigerator. A second sample was weighed" and dried to a constant weight. Forage was analyzed for total nitrogen and water soluble nitrogen (WSN).

Freeze-dried forage was found to be significantly higher (P<.01) in WSN but significantly lower (P<.01) total nitrogen than the oven-dried material. Total nitrogen was not significantly affected by fertilizer treatments in the freeze-dried forage. However, harvest date had a significant effect. Oven-dried forage showed both a significant fertilizer and harvest effect.

The WSN content of forage subjected to freeze-drying was not altered significantly by either fertilizer treatments or harvest date. Identical samples of oven-dried material showed contrary results with significant effects for both fertilizer treatments and harvest date. The variance estimates showed chemical analyses from the freeze-dried forage to be more variable than similar oven-dried material.

Since the method of drying had a definite effect on the total and water soluble nitrogen constituents of forage plants, analyses on oven-dried samples may not be representative of green plant material.

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