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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Adaptive Cropping Systems Laboratory

Title: Yield and environmental effects of organic and inorganic fertilizer applications on mixed-season perennial forages

item Codling, Eton
item Rutto, Laban
item Jaja, Ngowari
item Brandt, Michael
item Yousuf, Adnan

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/20/2013
Publication Date: 6/26/2013
Citation: Codling, E.E., Rutto, L.K., Jaja, N., Brandt, M., Yousuf, A. 2013. Yield and environmental effects of organic and inorganic fertilizer applications on mixed-season perennial forages. Meeting Abstract. Conference in Blacksburg, VA.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Although primarily a research project, this study included a training component whereby undergraduate research assistants gained practical knowledge in plant, soil and soil-water sampling and analysis, and learned about the environmental impact of nutrient loading in ground and surface waters. The students worked as part of a team studying the fate of nutrients in organic (poultry litter) and inorganic fertilizer applied on plots planted with two warm season grasses: Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon L.) and switch grass (Panicum virgatum L.), and stinging nettle (Urtica dioica L.), an alternative cool-season forage. Organic (30 kg) and inorganic (3.4 kg N) fertilizer was broadcast on individual 0.02 acre plots in spring and fall, respectively, of 2012. Students also helped during installation of lysimeters and learned the theory behind their use in monitoring nutrient flow in soils. Data on forage yield and elemental analyses of soil, plant, and soil-water samples was recorded. Soil pH averaged 6.4, but was higher in soil-water with an average of 7.9, while electrical conductivity (EC) was 0.05 mS/cm and 0.38 mS/cm in soil and soil-water samples, respectively. Dry matter yield was comparable between Bermuda and switch grasses but significantly lower in stinging nettle. Trace metal concentrations were within the acceptable range for agronomic crops. Soils had elevated levels of phosphorus, but there was significant change in soil-water nutrient loading after manure application. All test species demonstrated potential as candidates for use in remediation of manure impacted soils.

Last Modified: 10/19/2017
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