Effects of forage type and gibberellic acid on nitrate leaching losses

Woods, RR
Cameron, Keith
Edwards, GR
Di, Hong
Clough, Timothy
Journal Article
Fields of Research
ANZSRC::3004 Crop and pasture production , ANZSRC::4106 Soil sciences
Nitrogen (N) leaching from soil into water is a significant concern for intensively grazed forage-based systems because it can cause a decline in water quality and is a risk to human health. Urine patches from grazing animals are the main source of this N. The objective of this study was to quantify the effect that forage type and gibberellic acid (GA) application had on N leaching and herbage N uptake from urine patches on perennial ryegrass–white clover (RGWC), Italian ryegrass and lucerne. A lysimeter study was conducted over 17 months to measure herbage growth, N uptake and N loss to water beneath each of the three forage types with the following treatments: control, urine (700 kg N/ha) and urine with GA (8 g GA active ingredient/ha). Compared with RGWC (205 kg N/ha), N leaching losses were 35.3% lower from Italian ryegrass (133 kg N/ha) and 98.5% higher from lucerne (407 kg N/ha). These differences in leaching loss are likely to be due to winter plant growth and N uptake. During the winter months, Italian ryegrass had higher N uptake, whereas lucerne had lower N uptake, compared with RGWC. The application of GA had no effect on N leaching losses, DM yield or N uptake of forage treated with 700 kg N/ha urine.
© 2016 British Society of Soil Science
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