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Productivity increase, reduction of nitrogen fertiliser use and drought-stress mitigation by inoculation of Marandu grass (Urochloa brizantha) with Azospirillum brasilense

Leite, Rubson da C., dos Santos, José G. D., Silva, Eduardo L., Alves, Cássio R. C. R., Hungria, Mariangela, Leite, Robson da C., dos Santos, Antonio C.
Crop & pasture science 2019 v.70 no.1 pp. 61-67
Azospirillum brasilense, Urochloa brizantha, cultivars, cutting, dry season, fertilizer rates, forage, forage production, grasses, nitrogen, nitrogen fertilizers, plant height, tillers, wet season, Brazil
Among the forage species cultivated in South America, the genus Urochloa is the most used, and the cultivar Marandu of U. brizantha is the most widely planted in Brazil. The objective of this study was to evaluate forage performance in association with Azospirillum brasilense, combined with nitrogen (N) fertilisation. The study was conducted under field conditions in Araguaína, Tocantins, in the central region of Brazil, between March 2016 and March 2017. Four N fertiliser rates (0, 12.5, 25 and 50kg/ha of N per cutting cycle) were combined with two inoculation treatments (inoculated and non-inoculated), with evaluations carried out in three periods of the year (transition, dry and wet seasons). Marandu grass plants inoculated with A. brasilense had greater plant height, number of tillers and forage production than non-inoculated plants, regardless of the N rate. Inoculation with A. brasilense allowed a 20% reduction in N fertilisation. Our results indicate that inoculation with A. brasilense in Marandu grass, as well as increasing forage production, can help to mitigate the stresses caused by the dry season.