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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Efficient Management and Use of Animal Manure to Protect Human Health and Environmental Quality

Location: Food Animal Environmental Systems Research Unit

Title: Nutrient source and tillage impacts on tall fescue production and soil properties

Authors
item Netthisinghe, Annesly -
item Woosley, Paul -
item Gilfillen, Rebecca -
item Cook, Kimberly
item Sistani, Karamat

Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 30, 2014
Publication Date: May 30, 2014
Citation: Netthisinghe, A., Woosley, P., Gilfillen, R., Cook, K.L., Sistani, K.R. 2014. Nutrient source and tillage impacts on tall fescue production and soil properties. Agronomy Journal. 106:1427–1437.

Interpretive Summary: Tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) grass provides a major forage base for many livestock production systems in the southeastern United States. Forage production with manure helps recycle nutrients with less environmental impacts. This two year study examined tall fescue forage production and soil quality under broiler litter (BL), dairy manure (DMN), commercial fertilizer (CF) and a control (UTC) treatment within no-till (NT) and conservation tillage (CT) systems. There was similar fertilizer treatment response for forage yield, quality, and soil properties under both tillage practices. Tillage did not impact any forage production parameters nor the majority of soil properties. The BL, CF, DMN, and UTC treatments produced 9.3, 8.1, 6.6, and 5.6 Mg ha-1 forage dry matter (DM) yields respectively. All fertilized treatments had similar acid detergent fiber (ADF), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), and crude protein (CP) contents. The highest soil pH (6.7) was associated with the DMN soils. Manure amendment increased soil organic matter (OM) content from 2% to 3.1- 3.2%. The BL, DMN, and CF soils accumulated 86.3, 63.8, and 51.2 mg kg-1 soil test P (STP) respectively. The BL soils also contained 10.0 mg kg-1 NO3-N as compared to the 3.2 – 3.5 mg kg-1 NO3-N in the DMN and CF soils. In addition, BL and DMN soils accumulated 4.3-4.7 mgkg-1 Cu and 5.6-7.4 mgkg-1 Zn respectively. However, fertilization did not impact soil NH4-N content. Results suggest that short spells of BL and DMN broadcasting can produce similar forage yields and quality as commercial fertilizers while maintaining similar soil quality.

Technical Abstract: Tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) grass provides a major forage base for many livestock production systems in the southeastern United States. Forage production with manure helps recycle nutrients with less environmental impacts. This two year study examined tall fescue forage production and soil quality under broiler litter (BL), dairy manure (DMN), commercial fertilizer (CF) and a control (UTC) treatment within no-till (NT) and conservation tillage (CT) systems. There was similar fertilizer treatment response for forage yield, quality, and soil properties under both tillage practices. Tillage did not impact any forage production parameters nor the majority of soil properties. The BL, CF, DMN, and UTC treatments produced 9.3, 8.1, 6.6, and 5.6 Mg ha-1 forage dry matter (DM) yields respectively. All fertilized treatments had similar acid detergent fiber (ADF), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), and crude protein (CP) contents. The highest soil pH (6.7) was associated with the DMN soils. Manure amendment increased soil organic matter (OM) content from 2% to 3.1- 3.2%. The BL, DMN, and CF soils accumulated 86.3, 63.8, and 51.2 mg kg-1 soil test P (STP) respectively. The BL soils also contained 10.0 mg kg-1 NO3-N as compared to the 3.2 – 3.5 mg kg-1 NO3-N in the DMN and CF soils. In addition, BL and DMN soils accumulated 4.3-4.7 mgkg-1 Cu and 5.6-7.4 mgkg-1 Zn respectively. However, fertilization did not impact soil NH4-N content. Results suggest that short spells of BL and DMN broadcasting can produce similar forage yields and quality as commercial fertilizers while maintaining similar soil quality.

Last Modified: 12/22/2014
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