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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 89 No. 6, p. 905-910
    Received: Sept 4, 1996

    * Corresponding author(s): dsweeney@oznet.ksu.edu
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Sulfur Source and Placement Effects on Forage Yield and Quality of Established Tall Fescue

  1. Daniel W. Sweeney  and
  2. Joseph L. Moyer
  1. Kansas State Univ., Southeast Agric. Res. Ctr., P.O. Box 316, Parsons, KS 67357



Previous research indicates that tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) may respond to S fertilization. However, data are limited concerning S managemen options to improve yield and quality of tall fescue. Thus, a field study was conducted from 1988 to 1990 to determine the effects of S source (ammonium thiosulfate [ATS] and ammonium sulfate [AS]), rate (17 and 34 kg S ha−1), and placement (broadcast, dribble [surface band], and knife [subsurface band]) on yield and quality of established, endophyte-infected tall fescue. Compared with a no-fertilizer control, adding N alone more than doubled hay production, to 7.15 Mg ha−1, but the addition of fertilizer S had little effect on early-season production or later hay yields. Sulfur fertilization, especially in the ATS form, increased tissue S concentration, lowered N/S ratios, and, to a lesser extent, increased tissue N concentration in the hay harvest. Few differences in measured parameters were related to S rate. Correlation analyses suggested that lowering N/S ratios may reduce neutral-detergent fiber content and improve in vitro dry matter digestibility. Fescue sampled to simulate grazing in early spring was lower in yield and tissue S concentrations, but higher in N/S ratios, when S was knifed rather than surface applied. At hay harvest, knifing fertilizers increased yield approximately 20% and increased N concentration by 10% compared with surface application methods, but produced lower in vitro dry matter digestibility.

Contribution no. 97-79-J, Kansas Agric. Exp. Stn. Research supported in part by grant funds from the Fluid Fertilizer Foundation, Kerley Ag, Inc., The Sulphur Institute, and Allied-Signal, Inc.

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