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Agronomy Journal Abstract - NUTRIENT UPTAKE

Nutrient Uptake in Plant Parts of Sixteen Forages Fertilized with Poultry Litter


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 94 No. 4, p. 895-904
    Received: June 1, 2001

    * Corresponding author(s): gpederson@ars-grin.gov
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  1. Gary A. Pederson *a,
  2. Geoffrey E. Brinkb and
  3. Timothy E. Fairbrotherb
  1. a USDA-ARS, Plant Genet. Resour. Conserv. Unit, 1109 Experiment St., Griffin, GA 30223-1797
    b USDA-ARS, Crop Sci. Res. Lab., Waste Manage. and Forage Res. Unit, P.O. Box 5367, Mississippi State, MS 39762


Poultry litter used as fertilizer for forages often results in nutrient accumulation in soils over time. Maximizing nutrient uptake by forages would facilitate nutrient removal from litter-treated soils when the plants are mechanically harvested. This study compared N, P, K, Cu, and Zn concentrations and distribution in plant parts of annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) with 15 other cool-season forages fertilized with poultry litter. Annual ryegrass, three cereals, and 12 legumes were seeded in a pasture at Collins, MS, on a Savannah fine sandy loam (fine-loamy, siliceous, semiactive, thermic Typic Fragiudult) fertilized with poultry litter. Each species was harvested at full maturity and separated into root, stem, leaf, and flower components, and N, P, K, Cu, and Zn concentration and content of each component was determined. Most legumes had greater P, Cu, and Zn concentrations than annual ryegrass in many plant parts. Content of P, Cu, and Zn was similar between annual ryegrass and legumes due to greater dry matter yield of annual ryegrass compared with legumes. Stems, especially oat (Avena sativa L.) stems, had the lowest N/P ratio of all plant parts, which was more comparable to the N/P ratio of poultry litter. Nitrogen concentration was highly correlated with P, Cu, and Zn concentrations in aboveground plant parts, suggesting that improvements in N fertility would improve P, Cu, and Zn concentration in plants. To maximize P uptake in poultry litter–fertilized forages, management practices and breeding objectives should concentrate on optimizing stem production, while maintaining palatability, because almost 60% of total P in forages is located in stems.

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Copyright © 2002. American Society of AgronomyPublished in Agron. J.94:895–904.