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Cultivar, Harvest Date, and Nitrogen Fertilization Affect Production and Quality of Fall Oat

W. K. Coblentz, W. E. Jokela, M. G. Bertram
Agronomy journal 2014 v.106 no.6 pp. 2075-2086
Avena sativa, Zea mays, autumn, climatic factors, cultivars, dairy manure, drought, dry matter accumulation, fertilizer rates, forage crops, forage yield, harvest date, manure spreading, nitrogen fertilizers, nutrient availability, nutrient use efficiency, nutritive value, oats, planting, urea
Previous research has shown that oat (Avena sativa L.) has promise as a fall-forage option for dairy producers. In addition, dairy producers often have a recurring need to identify opportunity windows for manure hauling other than before or after production of corn (Zea mays L.). Our objectives were to evaluate the effects of N fertilization, cultivar selection, and harvest date on dry matter (DM) yield, N uptake, N recovery, and the nutritive value of fall-grown oat forages fertilized with either urea (46–0–0) or bedded-pack manure obtained from a dairy-heifer facility. Two cultivars of oat (ForagePlus and Ogle) were planted in August 2011 and 2012, fertilized with bedded-pack manure (23 or 45 Mg ha–¹, wet basis) or commercial urea (46–0–0) at rates of 0, 20, 40, 60, or 80 kg N ha–¹, and then harvested on two dates. Climatic conditions differed sharply across years, with growth responses limited by droughty conditions during 2012. During both years, DM yield increased linearly with commercial N fertilization, although the magnitude of these responses was relatively small. Yields of DM following applications of urea exceeded those of forages receiving bedded-pack manure during 2011. Apparent N recoveries increased linearly with application rate for urea during 2011 and increased with both linear and quadratic effects during 2012, but N recoveries following applications of bedded-pack manures were minimal during both years (overall range = –6.2 to 2.6% of N applied). These results indicate that bedded-pack manures containing wood shavings provided little immediately available N to support production of fall-grown oat.