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Release of soluble protein and nitrogen in alfalfa medicago sativa 2. influence of potassium and nitrogen fertilizer on 3 cultivars

Release of soluble protein and nitrogen in alfalfa medicago sativa 2. influence of potassium and nitrogen fertilizer on 3 cultivars

Crop Science 21(6): 852-855

Reduced incidence of ruminant bloat was reported on legume pastures fertilized with high levels of K for K plus N. Amount of soluble protein released from alfalfa (M. sativa L.) into sodium maleate buffer (pH 6.9) was proposed as a possible estimate of ruminant bloat potential in comparative studies. A study was made to determine whether K and N fertilization would influence concentration of several N fractions released from alfalfa. 'Ramsey', 'Saranac' and '520' alfalfa cultivars were fertilized in the fall with 0 (control), 350, and 700 kg K as K2SO4/ha and in the following spring with these same levels of N as NH4NO3 (34 3 .times. 3 factorial). The upper 10-15 cm of mid-bud stage alfalfa in 1st and 2nd crops was analyzed for several N fractions. As N applied increased, mean concentrations of total N (TN), total soluble N (TSN), soluble nonprotein N (SNPN), and soluble protein N (SPN) increased in 1st-harvest herbage. Mean concentrations of SPN increased 10.8% at 300 kg N/ha and 13.3% at 700 kg over that in alfalfa not fertilized with N. As the K level increased, mean concentrations of TN, TSN and SNPN decreased in 1st-harvest herbage. Fertilization with K did not affect concentration of SPN. Mean concentrations of TN, TSN, and SNPN in 'Saranac' and TN, TSN, and SPN in 520 1st-harvest herbage were slightly but significantly greater than those in 'Ramsey'. Cultivars did not affect concentrations of N fractions in 2nd-harvest herbage. There was no evidence that fertilization of alfalfa with K or N reduced its apparent bloat potential, as estimated by SPN release. Alfalfa fertilized with high levels of N had a slightly increased apparent bloat potential.

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