Multinutrient Fertilization and Placement to Improve Yield and Nutrient Concentration of Tall Fescue
- Daniel W. Sweeney ,
- Joseph L. Moyer and
- John L. Havlin
Although tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) is one of the major cool-season grasses used for animal feed in the USA, it often is unfertilized or is top-dressed with N alone. Additional fertilizer nutrients applied with N may improve yield and quality. Subsurface placement of N has been shown to improve cool-season grass production, but data are limited regarding effects of placement of different fertilizer combinations on elemental composition and yield of tall fescue. Thus, a field study was conducted from 1984 to 1986 to determine the effects of multinutrient fertilization (N-only, NP, NPK, NPKSBZn, and PKSBZn without N) and placement method [broadcast, dribble (surface banding), and knifing (subsurface banding)] on nutrient concentrations and yield of tall fescue. Nitrogen was the primary nutrient limiting fescue growth. Adding N doubled yields of samples that estimated early-grazing potential and tripled yields of hay. Supplementing N fertilization with additional nutrients increased tissue concentrations of the added nutrient, but increases in yield were small and often not significant. Broadcasting fertilizers resulted in greater yields of early-grazing samples and higher P and K concentrations than knifing; however, by hay harvest, knifing resulted in about 10% greater yields and 20% greater N concentrations. Dribble applications generally resulted in responses intermediate between those of broadcast and knifing.
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