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Yield response of long-term mixed grassland swards and nutrient cycling under different nutrient sources and management regimes

Yield response of long-term mixed grassland swards and nutrient cycling under different nutrient sources and management regimes

Grass and forage science: the journal of the British Grassland Society 57(3): 268-278

ISSN/ISBN: 0142-5242

DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2494.2002.00325.x

The response of a long-term, mixed-species hayfield in Maine, USA, to commercial fertilizers and liquid dairy manure was evaluated over a 6-year period, including the effects on yield, nutrient concentration and cycling, forage species composition and soil nutrient levels. Nutrient treatments included an unamended control, N fertilizer, NPK fertilizer and liquid dairy manure (LDM). The application rates of plant-available N, P, and K were constant across treatments. Application of nutrients in any form increased forage yield, generally by 2-4 t dry matter (DM) ha(-1) year(-1). Yield from NPK fertilizer was 0.05-0.25 higher than from LDM, due to differences in N availability. Yield responses to P and K were minimal and there appeared to be no difference between P and K in fertilizer and manure. The forage sward became increasingly dominated by grass species as the experiment progressed; application of P and K in fertilizer or LDM allowed Agropyron repens to increase at the expense of Poa pratensis. Forage nutrient removal accounted for all applied N and K, and nearly all applied P, throughout the study period, demonstrating the important role these forages can play in whole-farm nutrient management.

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Accession: 004011892

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