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Comparative productivity of irrigated short-term ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum) pasture receiving nitrogen, grown alone or in a mixture with white (Trifolium repens) and Persian (T. resupinatum) clovers

Lowe, K.F and Fulkerson, W.J. and Walker, R.G. and Armour, J.D. and Bowdler, T.M. and Slack, K. and Knight, R.I. and Moody, P.W. and Pepper, P.M. (2005) Comparative productivity of irrigated short-term ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum) pasture receiving nitrogen, grown alone or in a mixture with white (Trifolium repens) and Persian (T. resupinatum) clovers. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 45 (1). pp. 21-39.

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Article Link(s): http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/EA03105

Publisher URL: http://www.publish.csiro.au/

Abstract

Dairy farms in subtropical Australia use irrigated, annually sown short-term ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum) or mixtures of short-term ryegrass and white (Trifolium repens) and Persian (shaftal) (T. resupinatum) clover during the winter-spring period in all-year-round milk production systems. A series of small plot cutting experiments was conducted in 3 dairying regions (tropical upland, north Queensland, and subtropical southeast Queensland and northern New South Wales) to determine the most effective rate and frequency of application of nitrogen (N) fertiliser. The experiments were not grazed, nor was harvested material returned to the plots, after sampling.

Rates up to 100 kg N/ha.month (as urea or calcium ammonium nitrate) and up to 200 kg N/ha every 2 months (as urea) were applied to pure stands of ryegrass in 1991. In 1993 and 1994, urea, at rates up to 150 kg N/ha.month and to 200 kg N/ha every 2 months, was applied to pure stands of ryegrass; urea, at rates up to 50 kg N/ha.month, was also applied to ryegrass-clover mixtures.

The results indicate that applications of 50-85 kg N/ha.month can be recommended for short-term ryegrass pastures throughout the subtropics and tropical uplands of eastern Australia, irrespective of soil type. At this rate, dry matter yields will reach about 90% of their potential, forage nitrogen concentration will be increased, there is minimal risk to stock from nitrate poisoning and there will be no substantial increase in soil N. The rate of N for ryegrass-clover pastures is slightly higher than for pure ryegrass but, at these rates, the clover component will be suppressed. However, increased ryegrass yields and higher forage nitrogen concentrations will compensate for the reduced clover component. At application rates up to 100 kg N/ha.month, build-up of NO3--N and NH4+-N in soil was generally restricted to the surface layers (0-20 cm) of the soil, but there was a substantial increase throughout the soil profile at 150 kg N/ha.month. The build-up of NO3--N and NH4+-N was greater and was found at lower rates on the lighter soil compared with heavy clays. Generally, most of the soil N was in the NO3--N form and most was in the top 20 cm.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Reproduced with permission from © CSIRO Publishing. Access to published version may be available via Publisher’s website.
Keywords:Dairy farming; fertilizer application; nitrogen; pasture; Lolium multiflorum; Trifolium; Trifolium repens; Trifolium resupinatum.
Subjects:Animal culture > Cattle > Dairying
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Fertilisers
Plant culture > Field crops > Forage crops. Feed crops
Deposited On:05 Mar 2009 06:47
Last Modified:04 Oct 2010 06:08

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