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Agronomy Journal Abstract - PASTURE MANAGEMENT

Limestone, Gypsum, and Magnesium Oxide Influence Restoration of an Abandoned Appalachian Pasture


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 94 No. 4, p. 830-839
    Received: Apr 13, 2001

    * Corresponding author(s): dritchey@afsrc.ars.usda.gov
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  1. K. Dale Ritchey * and
  2. J. Diane Snuffer
  1. USDA-ARS, Appalachian Farming Syst. Res. Cent., 1224 Airport Rd., Beaver, WV 25813-9423


When restoring abandoned pastures on acidic hill-land soils to productivity, it is important to bring soil Ca and Mg to adequate levels. Gypsum is a readily available Ca amendment that is sufficiently soluble to move rapidly into the soil when surface-applied. Gypsum has been shown to reduce detrimental effects of subsurface acidity in soils of the southeastern USA. A 4-yr experiment was initiated to measure effects of surface gypsum application on forage production and to evaluate Mg-containing amendments to avoid gypsum-induced Mg deficiency. The study site was a southern West Virginia Gilpin silt loam (fine-loamy, mixed, mesic, Typic Hapludult) where abandoned hill-land pasture was being restored to productivity. Treatments included 0, 1000, 8000, 16000, and 32000 kg/ha flue gas desulfurization coal combustion by-product gypsum (gypsum) together with dolomitic limestone and five additional treatments to evaluate sources of supplemental Mg. Application of 16000 kg/ha gypsum together with limestone increased forage yields of mixed orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.) and tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb) pasture during establishment by 42% and production by 11% compared with limestone alone. About 8% of the mean 790 kg/ha yield increase could be attributed to acidity-neutralizing effects of alkaline constituents in the gypsum by-product. Plants in higher gypsum treatments had higher concentrations of K and P, but gypsum application decreased soil and plant Mg concentrations. This indicated that gypsum should not be applied on typical acid soils without supplemental Mg.

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Copyright © 2002. American Society of AgronomyPublished in Agron. J.94:830–839.