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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Comparison of Nitrogen Fertilized Grasses with a Grass-Legume Mixture as Pasture for Dairy Cows I. Dry Matter Production, Carrying Capacity, and Milk Production1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 58 No. 3, p. 280-282
    Received: Oct 2, 1965

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  1. N. A. Clark,
  2. J. I. Leslie and
  3. R. W. Hemken2



A study was conducted in 1960, 1961, and 1962 to compare orchardgrass grown under three rates of nitrogen, 100, 200, and 300 pounds per acre; orchardgrass-ladino clover; and Midland bermudagrass with sod seeded cereal rye, as pasture for lactating dairy cows. The bermudagrass became overmature and unpalatable in 1960, but in 1961 and 1962 the quality was improved through higher nitrogen fertilization, and more severe clipping and grazing practices. Nitrogen applications up to 200 pounds per acre resulted in increased dry matter production over the grass-clover mixture. Clover in the mixture declined each year. Crude protein and nitrate nitrogen increased with increasing rates of nitrogen fertilization. Management of the bermudagrass greatly affected its protein content. The nitrate levels obtained were not considered to be toxic. Animal carrying capacity followed the pattern of dry matter production. Average per cow milk production was highest on grass-clover pastures, and the response of cows on the other pastures was quite variable. Milk production dropped drastically on poorly managed bermudagrass, but in 1961 and 1962 production was comparable to that of cows on orchardgrass. The potential yield of milk per acre was higher on pastures where higher stocking rates were possible.

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