Effects of irrigation and nitrogen fertilizer application rate and form on the floristic development, forage quality and yield of a species-poor grass mixture (Lolium perenne L. and Poa pratensis L.) , in the foreshore of the Elbe

Bischoff, H.M.; Adolf, G.

Wirtschaftseigene Futter 38(3): 188-201


Accession: 002364906

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A permanent meadow of Lolium perenne (main component) and Poa pratensis sown on alluvial silt in the foreshore of the river Elbe in Dabrun, Germany, was given an annual fertilizer application of 80 kg P, 200 kg K and 0, 100, 200, 300, 400, 500 or 600 kg N/ha applied as urea or calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN). All plots were given 75 mm water during plant establishment (1976). In the main experimental years (1977 and 1978), plots were exposed to heavy sedimentation following 27 and 34 d of flooding in 1977 and 1978, respectively. During the dry periods of 1977 and 1978, half of the plots were irrigated with 100-150 mm water. At the end of 1978, both L. perenne and P. pratensis were largely replaced by alien species including Poa trivialis, Alopecurus pratensis and weeds, suggesting that the meadow mixture was not suitable for the area. Urea treatments decreased the proportion of surviving L. perenne plants more than CAN treatments. With 4 annual cuts in 1977 and 1978, plots given no N fertilizer application produced high DM yields (>12 t DM/ha per year), and N fertilized plots showed little advantage over controls. CF values were slightly increased by N application rates but were not affected by N form or by irrigation. Plant mineral contents (P, K, Ca, Na and Mg) were also little affected by N form and irrigation. High N rates increased forage nitrate contents of the 2nd and 3rd cut above the DM toxicity threshold of 0.25% NO3-N. Averaged over N application rate and form, irrigation increased total CP yield by almost 200 kg/ha, with the highest CP yield of 3008 kg/ha recorded for irrigated plots given 400 kg N/ha as CAN. It was concluded that L. perenne and P. pratensis meadows should only be grown in areas in which flooding is unlikely.