Project Number: 6406-12630-006-04
Start Date: Aug 15, 2007
End Date: Aug 14, 2012
Work will be done on a cooperator farm that produces hybrid bermudagrass for hay during spring-summer and for grazing by beef cattle in fall-winter. Field plots are established in an existing stand of bermudagrass. Winter growth of any volunteer grass is suppressed. The plots are fertilized in spring using split applications of broiler litter (4 and 8 tons/acre), and a single application of 60 lbs N (34-0-0) at spring green up. Beginning in June and until the grass goes dormant, a 1-m center of each plot is harvested at two heights. Measurements are made of forage biomass and yield of 9 nutrient elements in the harvested hay. These same elements are determined in soil to 30-cm depth before spring fertilization and after fall dormancy. Statistical analysis focuses on the interaction of harvest interval and harvest height on yield of forage and nutrients. Nutrient uptake is compared for the two harvesting heights to determine if increased biomass production leads to proportional increases in nutrient removal, particularly N, P, K, Cu, and Zn. In subsequent years, plots will be sown to adapted cool-season forage crop to determine the rate of decline in soil nutrients when the rate of broiler litter is decreased or replaced with inorganic fertilizer.