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Agronomy Journal Abstract - Nitrogen Management

Effects of Broiler Litter and Nitrogen Fertilization on Uptake of Major Nutrients by Coastal Bermudagrass


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 98 No. 4, p. 1065-1072
    Received: July 27, 2005

    * Corresponding author(s): jjread@msa-msstate.ars.usda.gov
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  1. J. J. Read *a,
  2. G. E. Brinkb,
  3. J. L. Oldhamc,
  4. W. L. Kingeryc and
  5. K. R. Sistanid
  1. a USDA–ARS, Waste Management and Forage Res. Unit, Mississippi State, MS 39762
    b USDA–ARS, U.S. Dairy Forage Res. Center, Madison, WI 53706
    c Dep. of Plant and Soil Sci., Mississippi State Univ., Mississippi State, MS 39762
    d USDA–ARS, Animal Waste Management Res. Unit, 230 Bennett Lane, Bowling Green, KY 42104


Land application of poultry litter provides essential nutrients for hybrid bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] production, but ammonia (NH3) volatilization and N mineralization influence the amount of litter N available for plant uptake. Our objective was to determine the combination of broiler litter and fertilizer N, which maximizes the yields of forage and N, P, and K by ‘Coastal’ bermudagrass. Studies were conducted for 3 yr (1999–2001) in pastures at Newton and Mize, MS that differed widely in soil test P (STP) due to history of litter application (0 vs. 30+ yr, respectively.). Litter rates of 0, 4.5, 8.9, 13.4, and 17.9 Mg ha−1 were obtained by up to four monthly (April–July) applications of 4.5 Mg ha−1 and were supplemented with ammonium nitrate (NH4–NO3) to provide the same total N in each treatment. At Newton, combining litter with fertilizer N increased forage yield by 10% in 1999, 25% in 2000, and 34% in 2001, as compared to fertilizer N. At Mize, K uptake increased as litter rate increased in 2001 only. These responses to litter were related to increased soil P and K at Newton, and increased soil N, P, and Ca at Mize. Averaged across years, maximum P uptake of about 40 kg ha−1 was obtained by applying 8.9 Mg litter + 134 kg N ha−1 at Newton and 4.5 Mg litter + 202 kg N ha−1 at Mize. Safe and effective management of major plant nutrients in broiler litter may require the use of commercial N fertilizer.

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