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Harvest Management Effects on ‘Tifton 44’ Bermudagrass Phosphorus Removal and Nutritive Value

John J. Read, David J. Lang, Ardeshir Adeli, Johnie N. Jenkins
Agronomy journal 2018 v.110 no.3 pp. 879-889
Cynodon dactylon, ammonium nitrate, crude protein, cutting, digestibility, farms, livestock, nutritive value, phosphorus, poultry manure, regrowth, ruminants, stubble
Haying bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] to maximize recovery of P applied in broiler litter may adversely affect forage quality. This 3-yr study (2005–2007) determined harvest management effects on dry matter (DM) yield, P removal, and forage nutritive value in ‘Tifton 44’ bermudagrass at Noxapater and South Farm, MS. Fertilization annually comprised 8.96 Mg ha⁻¹ broiler litter (as-is basis) that provided 243 and 122 kg ha⁻¹ of N and P, respectively, supplemented with 67–110 kg ha⁻¹ N (as ammonium nitrate). After an initial harvest in May, forage was harvested at 28-, 35-, and 49-d intervals and at 3- and 9-cm residual cutting heights. Seasonal trends in P removal closely followed those observed for DM yield and short stubble increased yields of DM and P by approximately 31%. Prolonged regrowth and 3-cm stubble height resulted in the greatest yields of DM and P. Annual P removal at Noxapater did not differ between 35- and 49-d harvest intervals (21.3 vs. 23.0 kg ha⁻¹); whereas it was greatest (P < 0.05) at South Farm for 49-d intervals (23.9 vs. 25.8 kg ha⁻¹). Prolonged regrowth resulted in crude protein (CP) and in vitro true DM digestibility (IVTDMD) below 95 and 610 g kg⁻¹, respectively, suggesting less forage could be consumed by ruminant livestock. In 2007, CP and IVTDMD levels were greatest for 9-cm stubble. Tifton 44 bermudagrass receiving litter should be harvested every 35 d and at 3-cm stubble height to provide the best compromise between DM yield, nutrient removal, and forage nutritive value.