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Agronomy Journal Abstract - FORAGE MANAGEMENT

Influence of Nitrogen on Productivity and Nutritive Value of Forage Chicory


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 92 No. 3, p. 472-478
    Received: Apr 26, 1999

    * Corresponding author(s): dbelesky@afsrc.ars.usda.gov
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  1. David P. Belesky *,
  2. Kenneth E. Turner and
  3. Joyce M. Ruckle
  1. USDA-ARS, Appalachian Farming Systems Research Center, 1224 Airport Road, Beaver, WV 25813 USA


Chicory (Cichorium intybus L.) is highly productive and responsive to N fertilization under midsummer conditions in the eastern USA. We conducted a field experiment for 3 yr on a Ramsey soil (loamy, siliceous, subactive, mesic Lithic Dystrudept) in southern West Virginia to determine if fertilizer N influenced forage chicory nutritive value and NO3–N concentration. Each N rate (0, 80, 160, 240, or 480 kg N ha−1) was replicated three times in a randomized block design. Swards were clipped at 6-wk intervals during the growing season. Swards were virtually pure chicory in the first year (1994) regardless of N rate. By the third year (1996), chicory ranged from about 40% (0 N) to less than 5% (480 kg N ha−1) of swards. Botanical composition changes in the sward influenced dry matter (DM) response to N rate and herbage nutritive value. Dry matter production increased with N rate in 1994, but was not affected by N in 1996 when chicory was not a major sward component. More than 70% of total annual DM production in 1994 occurred after the first harvest, but by 1996 was less than 50%, reflecting productivity patterns typical of cool-season swards. Nitrate concentrations in herbage were greatest (3.5 g kg−1) in 1995, a relatively dry year, and least (2.3 g kg−1) in 1996, when there was less chicory in the sward. Crude protein (CP) and in vitro organic matter disappearance (IVOMD) values indicated high forage quality throughout the course of the experiment.

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