Nitrogen Fertilization of Buffalograss
- T.L. Springer *b and
- C.M. Taliaferroa
Because native, shortgrass prairies are not typically fertilized and otherwise extensively managed, little information is available on their response to nitrogen (N) fertilization. An experiment was conducted in 1997 and 1998 to study the effects of N fertilization on forage yield and quality, forage height, and subsequent nitrate accumulation in the soil of a rangeland site consisting primarily of buffalograss [Buchloë dactyloides (Nutt.) Engelm.]. The N treatments were 0, 34, 68, 102, and 136 kg ha−1 arranged in a Latin square design. An increase (P < 0.05) in forage dry matter (DM) yield was obtained with 34 kg ha−1 N. Greater (P < 0.05) forage yields were achieved with an additional 102 kg ha−1 N (total 136 kg ha−1 N). Forage yields averaged 2540 kg ha−1 in 1997 and 2340 kg ha−1 in 1998. Nitrogen fertilization increased crude protein (CP) of buffalograss forage. Each unit of 34 kg ha−1 N linearly increased CP up to approximately122 g kg−1 of DM forage. Weather conditions influenced in vitro digestible dry matter (IVDDM). As long as moisture conditions were favorable for forage growth, IVDDM increased linearly with N fertilization rate. In 1997, IVDDM ranged from 565 g kg−1 for the control to 658 g kg−1 for the 102 kg ha−1 N application rate. In 1998, IVDDM declined linearly (P < 0.05) with N fertilization rate. In vitro digestible dry matter averaged 539 g kg−1 for the control to 482 g kg−1 for the 136 kg ha−1 N application rate. Nitrogen fertilization of buffalograss dominated semiarid rangeland can enhance forage production and quality. Nitrate accumulation in the soil was insignificant over the study period.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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