Theme 4: Wildlife--Oral Sessions

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Nutrient recycling via plant litter and livestock excreta is an important ecosystem service provided by grasslands. This study determined nutrient return via these pathways in three grazing systems. The experiment was conducted from May to October (2016 and 2017) and treatments were: 1) Nitrogen fertilized bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum Flügge) pastures (112 kg N ha-1) during the warm-season, overseeded with a mixture (56 kg ha-1 of each) of ‘FL 401’ cereal rye (Secale cereale, L.) and ‘RAM’ oat (Avena sativa, L.) during the cool-season (BGN); 2) Ecoturf Rhizoma peanut (Arachis glabrata Benth.)/bahiagrass pastures during the warm-season, overseeded with similar rye/oat mixture fertilized with 34 kg N ha-1 plus a mixture of clovers (Trifolium incarnatum L., T. pretense L., and T. nigrescens L.) during the cool-season (BGRP); 3) unfertilized bahiagrass pastures during the warm-season, overseeded with similar rye/oat grass/clover mixture + 34 kg N ha-1 during the cool-season (BG). Litter mass was evaluated every 5wk. Litter decomposition was evaluated with incubation periods of 0, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, and 256 days. Urine and fecal samples were collected for N concentration analysis. There was a net return of 47 kg N ha-1 season-1 via litter in all three systems without differing among them. In addition, litter decomposition rates were not different in the three systems. Conversely, N returned via excreta (urine and feces) was greater (63, 27, and 51 kg N ha-1 season-1) than that returned via litter (58.6, 41.6, and 41.2 kg ha-1 season-1). When assessing the proportions of N returning to the system via litter or excreta, no differences were observed among treatments, and on average 65.1 % of the N returned via excreta vs. 34.9 % returning via litter. The introduction of legumes could reduce the inputs from N fertilizers in grazing systems and keep the productivity similar because of more efficient N cycling.

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Nutrient Return from Plant Litter and Cattle Excretion Grazing on N-Fertilized Grass or Grass-Legume Pastures in North Florida

Nutrient recycling via plant litter and livestock excreta is an important ecosystem service provided by grasslands. This study determined nutrient return via these pathways in three grazing systems. The experiment was conducted from May to October (2016 and 2017) and treatments were: 1) Nitrogen fertilized bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum Flügge) pastures (112 kg N ha-1) during the warm-season, overseeded with a mixture (56 kg ha-1 of each) of ‘FL 401’ cereal rye (Secale cereale, L.) and ‘RAM’ oat (Avena sativa, L.) during the cool-season (BGN); 2) Ecoturf Rhizoma peanut (Arachis glabrata Benth.)/bahiagrass pastures during the warm-season, overseeded with similar rye/oat mixture fertilized with 34 kg N ha-1 plus a mixture of clovers (Trifolium incarnatum L., T. pretense L., and T. nigrescens L.) during the cool-season (BGRP); 3) unfertilized bahiagrass pastures during the warm-season, overseeded with similar rye/oat grass/clover mixture + 34 kg N ha-1 during the cool-season (BG). Litter mass was evaluated every 5wk. Litter decomposition was evaluated with incubation periods of 0, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, and 256 days. Urine and fecal samples were collected for N concentration analysis. There was a net return of 47 kg N ha-1 season-1 via litter in all three systems without differing among them. In addition, litter decomposition rates were not different in the three systems. Conversely, N returned via excreta (urine and feces) was greater (63, 27, and 51 kg N ha-1 season-1) than that returned via litter (58.6, 41.6, and 41.2 kg ha-1 season-1). When assessing the proportions of N returning to the system via litter or excreta, no differences were observed among treatments, and on average 65.1 % of the N returned via excreta vs. 34.9 % returning via litter. The introduction of legumes could reduce the inputs from N fertilizers in grazing systems and keep the productivity similar because of more efficient N cycling.