Submitted to: Journal of Plant Nutrition
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 10, 2004
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Broiler litter (a mixture of chicken manure, wasted feed, feathers, and wood shavings or other crop residue) is typically applied to forage crops in the Southeast. Among southeastern forage crops, bermudagrass has the greatest potential to recover nutrients contained in manure and reduce nutrient accumulation in the soil. Our objective was to compare a diverse collection of bermudagrasses available to producers for yield and nutrient uptake. Six hybrid bermudagrasses and common bermudagrass were fertilized with broiler litter and harvested for four years. The hybrid cultivar, `Russell' generally provided greater yield and nutrient uptake than the other cultivars. Common bermudagrass had lowest yield and nutrient uptake. The narrow range in nutrient uptake among the hybrid cultivars suggests that other parameters (availability, forage quality) be considered when selecting a bermudagrass.
Technical Abstract: Bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] has excellent potential among forage crops to recover nutrients from soil fertilized with broiler litter due to the association between yield and uptake. Our objective was to determine differences in nutrient concentration and nutrient uptake among diverse bermudagrasses fertilized with broiler litter. `Alicia', `Brazos', `Coastal', `Russell', `Tifton 44', and `Tifton 85' hybrid bermudagrass and common bermudagrass were grown on a Savannah fine sandy loam (fine-loamy, siliceous, semiactive, thermic Typic Fragiudult) and fertilized with litter to provide 500 kg total N ha-1 yr-1 (mean of 4 yr). Annual yield of Russell (18.70 Mg ha-1) exceeded that of all cultivars except Alicia due principally to greater first harvest yield. Lowest annual yield was produced by common bermudagrass (11.85 Mg ha-1). Although herbage N and P concentrations of common bermudagrass were greater than that of the hybrids, N and P uptake were closely associated with DM yield (R2 = 0.86 for N and 0.90 for P). Among the hybrid cultivars, the range in N and P uptake was relatively narrow (300 to 350 kg N ha-1 and 45 to 54 kg P ha-1). The statistically significant but relatively small differences in nutrient uptake among hybrid bermudagrass cultivars suggest that agronomic and economic factors related to the value of bermudagrass as a livestock feed, such as forage quality, seasonal distribution of growth, winter-hardiness, availability, and establishment cost, may be given equal consideration as nutrient uptake.