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This article in CS

  1. Vol. 51 No. 4, p. 1800-1807
     
    Received: Apr 17, 2010
    Published: July, 2011


    * Corresponding author(s): lesollen@ufl.edu
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doi:10.2135/cropsci2010.04.0209

Distribution of Nutrients Among Soil–Plant Pools in ‘Tifton 85’ Bermudagrass Pastures Grazed at Different Intensities

  1. Kesi Liua,
  2. Lynn E. Sollenberger *a,
  3. Maria L. Silveirab,
  4. João M.B. Vendraminib and
  5. Yoana C. Newmana
  1. a Agronomy Dep., University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0500
    b Range Cattle Research and Education Center, Ona, FL 33865

Abstract

Choice of grazing intensity (i.e., stocking rate or grazed sward height) has an important role in the functioning of grassland ecosystems; however, the effect of grazing intensity on size and relative importance of various grassland nutrient pools is not well understood. The objective of this 2-yr study, conducted on soils from the Plummer and Sparr series, was to determine the effect of stubble height after grazing (SH) on nutrient distribution among plant and soil (0- to 20-cm depth) nutrient pools in ‘Tifton 85’ bermudagrass (Cynodon spp.) pastures. Swards were stocked rotationally and grazed every 28 d to SH of 8, 16, and 24 cm. Green herbage, plant litter, and root–rhizome pool masses increased as SH increased. Plant nutrient concentrations (g kg−1) were relatively unresponsive to SH, but soil C and N concentrations increased by 23 and 34%, respectively, as SH increased. Nutrient content (kg ha−1) of all plant pools increased as SH increased, mainly a function of increasing pool mass. Soil pool P and K content (Mehlich-1) were not affected by SH, but total C (17%) and N (27%) content increased with taller SH. The soil pool to 20 cm contained approximately 40, 85, 90, and 80% of K, P, N, and C, respectively. Reducing grazing intensity of Tifton 85 bermudagrass pastures appears to be a viable strategy for increasing nutrient content of most plant pools and for increasing the N and C content of the soil pool.

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