The Right Recipe For Fertilizing Forage Grasses

Thanks to Dennis O'Brien, ARS Office of Communications, for this article. It was published in the October 2016 issue of AgResearch Magazine. It focuses on results for forage grasses in the Southeast, but could give you some ideas about questions you could ask about your fertilizer use. Producers growing forage grass for cattle in the southeastern United States face a crucial question: How much fertilizer should I use? Many forage grasses grow best with help from nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium fertilizers. But the right recipe is elusive because increasing one nutrient can reduce the impact of the others. The same fertilizer can affect different forage grasses in different ways, such as growth rate, yield, and nutritional quality. Sometimes producers apply more fertilizer than needed, wasting money and causing excessive runoff, which could harm the environment. An Agricultural Research Service (ARS) plant geneticist in Tifton, Georgia, has developed recommendations for fertilizing forage grass in the Southeast. He accomplished this by applying all three nutrients at different rates and studying the effects on a forage grass widely grown in the region. "Fertilizer costs in forage production are one of the most significant expenses facing beef and dairy producers, and being able to keep those

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One thought on “The Right Recipe For Fertilizing Forage Grasses

  1. The photo of grazing cattle in a story on forage fertilization runs the risk of conflating pasture with hay. Since hay is removed to feed elsewhere, large amounts of nutrients need to be replaced. The same is NOT true for grazed pasture where the forage is consumed in place and the cattle recycle most of the nutrients in the plants.

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