Year of Publication

2014

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Agriculture, Food and Environment

Department

Plant and Soil Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Samuel Ray Smith

Abstract

Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is an important native warm-season grass for biomass and forage production in the U.S. This research determined the effect of fertilizer type (conventional, manure, and biosolids) and rate on switchgrass biomass yield and forage quality. Fertilizers were added at 0, 33, 67, 100, and 134 kg N ha-1 on established stands of ‘Kanlow’ switchgrass in three northeastern Kentucky counties. Soils across sites ranged from recently cleared forestland (low pH, P, and K) to productive cropland (high pH, P and K). Stands were sampled for forage nutritive value in June, simulating a hay harvest. Nutritive value and biomass yield were sampled in November and March. Results showed a harvest date effect for mean crude protein (CP) of 8.31% in June and 1.16% November and March. There was also a harvest effect for biomass with a mean yield of all harvests of 16.6 MT ha-1 but a N response at only one site. In conclusion, this study suggested that switchgrass may produce adequate nutritive value for dry beef cows in June and fertilizer type and rate may have a limited effect on biomass yields.

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