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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 73 No. 5, p. 803-807
     
    Received: Apr 2, 1980


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doi:10.2134/agronj1981.00021962007300050014x

Effects of N Fertilization and Cutting Schedules on Stockpiled Tall Fescue. I. Forage Yield1

  1. Michael Collins and
  2. J. A. Balasko2

Abstract

Abstract

Forage stockpiled in situ for winter use provides pasturage during a period of low forage production in midlatitude states of the midwestern and eastern United States. Two experiments were conducted to study the effects of harvest management and N fertilization rates on spring-summer and autumn-winter production of tall fescue (Festuca urundinacea Schreb.) forage. Treatments in Exp. I included four N rates; 0, 60, 120, and 180 kg/ha applied as NH4NO3 in split applications of one-half in March and one-half in August; three spring-summer cutting schedules (1) mid-June only, (2) mid-May and early July, and (3) early June and mid-July; and three autumnwinter harvest dates (1) mid-December, (2) mid-January, and (3) mid-February. The soil was a moderately welldrained Lily loam (Typic Hapludults). Regression analysis indicated that the yield of forage available during winter increased as annual N application increased up to 137 kg/ha and 126 kg/ha for mid-June stockpiling initiation in 1973–1974 and 1974–1975, respectively. The optimum annual N application rate for forage stockniled beginning in earlffuly was calculated to 6e 197 kg/ha in 1973–1974 and 136 kg/ha in 1974–1975.

Stockpiled forage yields decreased from 2.50 metric tonslhd to 2.24 metric tons/ha between December and February averaged over the 2 years of the study. Winter in vitro digestible dry matter yield (IVDDM) decreased during winter.

In Exp. II, treatments included four N rates: 0, 75, 150, and 225 kg/ha applied as NH4NO2 at the time of the last summer or autumn cutting which occurred in either early September, mid-September, or early October. The soil was a Clarksburg silt loam (member of the fine-loamy, mixed, mesic family of Typic Fragiudalfs). All forage was harvested in late winter. Forage yields during spring and summer increased up to the highest rate of N applied in both seasons. Any delay in initiation of stockpiling in Exp. II resulted in reduced winter yield. Winter yields increased in response to N application. Cutting date in autumn had little influence on forage yields the following spring, but rate of N fertilization did influence spring yield. Increasing autumn N application from 0 to 225 kg/ha increased spring forage production by an average of 2.40 metric tons/ha.

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