Skip to main content
ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #211067

Title: Management of tall fescue pastures and nutrients in a Southern Piedmont environment

item Endale, Dinku
item Franzluebbers, Alan
item Stuedemann, John
item Franklin, Dorcas

Submitted to: American Society of Agronomy Meetings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/10/2007
Publication Date: 11/4/2007
Citation: Endale, D.M., Franzluebbers, A.J., Stuedemann, J.A., Franklin, D.H. 2007. Management of tall fescue pastures and nutrients in a Southern Piedmont environment [abstract]. ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Meetings, November 4-8, 2007, New Orleans, Louisanna. CD-ROM.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Pastures have replaced row-crop agriculture in many parts of the Southern Piedmont in response to soil and water conservation needs where tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb) is a common pasture grass. However, nutrient losses from livestock manure and/or poultry fertilization can contribute to eutrophication of surface waters. Runoff and nutrient losses were monitored over four years from different fescue management systems that are used by producers in the Southern Piedmont. A randomized complete block arrangement of 14 paddocks under combinations of a grazing (grazed or hayed), fertilization (poultry litter or inorganic fertilizer) and tall fescue type (high endophyte high alkaloid, high endophyte low alkaloid, and endophyte free) treatments was used. The study was located at the USDA-ARS J. Phil Campbell Sr. Natural Resource Conservation Center, near Watkinsville, GA. Runoff proved variable from paddock to paddock and was influenced more by topography and soil than treatments. An average of 50 mm of rainfall was recorded from 29 storms during part of the study. Average runoff varied from 3.2 to 8.7 mm from paddocks. Mean concentrations of ammonium-nitrogen (NH4-N) and nitrate-nitrogen (NO3-N) in runoff were low (< 1 mg per liter). However, concentration of dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP) was elevated in the grazed fields (2.9 mg per liter with poultry litter and 1.5 mg per liter with inorganic fertilizer) compared to hayed fields (0.5 mg per liter). Mean maximum loads were about 0.78 kg per hectare for NH4-N, 0.41 kg per hectare for NO3-N and about 2.05 kg per hectare for DRP recorded in the grazed pastures. The study suggests that management practices that reduce DRP losses from grazinglands fertilized with poultry litter or inorganic fertilizer are needed to protect water resources.