Year of Publication

2019

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Agriculture, Food and Environment

Department

Plant and Soil Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. S. Ray Smith

Abstract

The use of nitrogen (N) fertilizer is generally restricted on mixed species forage systems due to its stimulatory effect on grasses which increases competition with legume species. Reduced legume growth from this competition can compromise forage nutritive value and prospective yields. The controlled-release nature of several enhanced efficiency fertilizer N products holds the potential to improve legume persistence in mixed species pastures while providing supplemental N required by the grass component. The studies contained in this dissertation evaluated the effect of different enhanced efficiency N formulations (ATU, ESN, methylene urea, SuperU, and a 75% ESN: 25% urea blend) and untreated urea on yield, nutritive value, and legume persistence in a ‘Wrangler’ bermudagrass and ‘Durana’ white clover mixture (2014-2016 growing seasons), ‘KY-31’tall fescue and ‘Kenland’ red clover mixture (2015-2016 growing seasons), and ‘KY-31’ stockpiled tall fescue (2015-2017). The three studies were conducted at the University of Kentucky Spindletop Research Farm in Lexington, KY in a randomized complete block design. In the bermudagrass-white clover study, all enhanced efficiency N sources maintained white clover populations similar to the unfertilized grass/clover control, but only ESN caused greater clover composition than standard urea. Total forage yields increased linearly with N rate in all years, but dry weather conditions in the second and third years resulted in lower total yield. Forage nutritive value followed general trends throughout each growing season, but ESN’s ability to maintain clover resulted in higher nutritive value. In the tall fescue-red clover, total forage yields curvilinearly increased with N rate in 2015 but did not vary in 2016. ESN and ESN+urea blend treatments retained clover composition similar to that of the unfertilized control. Stockpiled forage yield increased with higher N rates. Enhanced efficiency N fertilizers with the ability to control N release can enhance forage yield while maintaining clover in mixed species swards.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/etd.2019.086

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