Pasture response to fertiliser inputs under dairy grazing
Conversion of sheep and beef farms into dairy units has resulted in research on appropriate fertiliser rates and pasture species to achieve maximum productivity in minimum time. An onfarm trial involving five different mixtures of pasture species (based on fescue, prairie grass, an improved mixture, farmer mixture or original pasture), three rates of nitrogen as urea (0, 50 or 100 kg/ha of N applied half in March and half in August) and four rates of superphosphate (0, 250, 500 or 1000 kg/ha applied annually in March) was established in Canterbury on a Waimakariri sandy silt loam with border-dyke irrigation and an Olsen P of 5 pg/ml. The trial was grazed by dairy cattle as part of the general rotation; plots were not fenced individually. Pasture growth rates were measured pre- and post-grazing using a calibrated pasture probe. Botanical dissections ,were made seasonally and soil samples were taken annually. Pasture dry matter production was greatest from the prairie grass, “improved” mixture and the original pasture, reaching 13,000, 11,000 and 16,000 kg/ha in years one, two and three, respectively; production from the fescue increased with time; the ‘farmer’ mix performed poorly. Nitrogen at 50 kg/ha was generally sufficient to produce maximum yield increases. Increasing superphosphate increased production; this effect decreased with time. Change in Olsen P reflected superphosphate inputs and after three years of differential superphosphate application the Olsen P status was 8, 14, 27 or 42 (corresponding to 0, 250, 500 or 1000 kg/ha superphosphate).... [Show full abstract]
KeywordsBromus willdenowii; dairy conversion; dry matter production; Festuca arundinacea; Olsen P; superphosphate; nitrogen; Lolium perenne
Fields of Research079902 Fertilisers and Agrochemicals (incl. Application); 070306 Crop and Pasture Nutrition
TypeConference Contribution - published
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