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This article in CS

  1. Vol. 44 No. 4, p. 1348-1354
    Received: Sept 4, 2003

    * Corresponding author(s): les@ifas.ufl.edu
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Nitrogen Fertilization and Stocking Rate Affect Stargrass Pasture and Cattle Performance

  1. A. Hernández Garaya,
  2. L. E. Sollenberger *b,
  3. D. C. McDonaldc,
  4. G. J. Ruegseggerd,
  5. R. S. Kalmbachere and
  6. P. Mislevye
  1. a Colegio de Postgraduados, Montecillo, Texcoco, Edo de México, Mexico CP56230
    b P.O. Box 110300, Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0300
    c Bodles Res. Stn., Old Harbour P.O., Jamaica
    d Dairy Nutrition Services, Chandler, AZ 85210
    e Range Cattle Res. and Educ. Center, Ona, FL 33865


Stargrass (Cynodon nlemfuensis Vanderyst) is an important tropical forage, but the interaction of stocking rate (SR) and N fertilizer rate on stargrass pastures is not well understood. The objective was to determine the effects of three SR (2.5, 5.0, and 7.5 bulls ha−1) and three N rates (112, 224, and 336 kg ha−1 yr−1) on stargrass pasture characteristics and performance of Jamaica Red Poll (Bos taurus × B. indicus) weanling bulls at St. Ann, Jamaica. Soil was a bauxitic clay loam, and pastures were rotationally stocked (7-d grazing and 21-d rest period). Pregraze herbage mass increased as SR decreased (2.0-4.8 Mg ha−1 in Year 1 and 3.3-8.3 Mg ha−1 in Year 2). Herbage crude protein (CP) and in vitro digestible organic matter (IVDOM) generally increased with increasing SR and N rate. Bull daily gain decreased curvilinearly from 0.70 to 0.26 kg in Year 1 and 0.65 to 0.35 kg in Year 2 as SR increased from 2.5 to 7.5 head ha−1 Daily gain increased linearly as N rate increased from 112 to 336 kg ha−1 The N fertilizer rate had little effect on gain per hectare at the lowest SR, but gain increased with fertilization up to 224 kg N ha−1 for a SR of 5 head ha−1 and up to 336 kg N ha−1 for a SR of 7.5. In conclusion, economic return from N fertilization of stargrass pastures is dependent upon SR, with greater N rates more likely to be profitable if SR is high.

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Copyright © 2004. Crop Science Society of AmericaCrop Science Society of America