Influence of Nitrogen on Productivity and Nutritive Value of Forage Chicory
- David P. Belesky *,
- Kenneth E. Turner and
- Joyce M. Ruckle
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.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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