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Effects of seasonal nitrogen on binary mixtures of tall fescue and bermudagrass

Read, John J., Lang, David J., Adeli, Ardeshir
Agronomy journal 2014 v.106 no.5 pp. 1667-1676
Cynodon dactylon, Festuca arundinacea subsp. arundinacea, application timing, cultivars, forage, nitrogen, nitrogen fertilizers, poultry manure, production technology, seasonal growth, seasonal variation, spring
Using poultry litter responsibly in cool-season/bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] production systems may require supplemental N fertilization. This study determined if productivity in binary mixtures of tall fescue [Schedonorus arundinaceus (Schreb.) Dumort] and bermudagrass could be improved through applying litter and fertilizer N to coincide with seasonal growth activities. The effects of N timing on dry matter (DM) yield, forage N and P contents, and fescue percent stand were investigated in binary mixtures that comprised two tall fescue cultivars, Flecha MaxQ (summer-dormant) and Jesup MaxQ (summer-active) drill-seeded in 2007 into swards of Russell and Tifton 44 bermudagrass. Three seasonal N treatments were each comprised of 8.6 Mg litter ha–1 (as-is moisture basis) split into two applications per season with additional 168 kg N ha–1 split into three applications. Based on two spring harvests (April and May), forage DM yield was greater (P < 0.01) for October/January treatment that applied N before April than January/March treatment that applied N in January–July (7.0 vs. 3.0 Mg ha–1, 2 yr averages). Tall fescue stand count in May was greatest in October/January treatment and was greater in Jesup–Tifton 44 than Flecha–Tifton 44 in 2010 (79 vs. 59%). Based on five annual harvests, October/January treatment had the greatest cumulative N uptake of 189 and 182 kg ha–1 in 2009 and 2010, respectively, and uptake was generally least in Flecha–bermudagrass associations. Results suggest N application timing to favor tall fescue increased the utilization of applied N and P.