Fertilizer application (P, K, S, Ca and Mg) on pasture in calcareous dehesas: effects on herbage yield, botanical composition and nutritive value

https://doi.org/10.17221/114/2014-PSECitation:Santamaría O., Rodrigo S., Poblaciones M.J., Olea L. (2014): Fertilizer application (P, K, S, Ca and Mg) on pasture in calcareous dehesas: effects on herbage yield, botanical composition and nutritive value. Plant Soil Environ., 60: 303-308.
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The objective of the present study was to evaluate the effect of P, Ca, S, and/or K and/or Mg application at different rates on the botanical composition, herbage yield and its nutritive value in dehesas developed on calcareous soils. In two growing seasons, 2009/10 and 2010/11, five surface-broadcast fertiliser treatments were applied once in autumn. Two grazing periods were simulated by cutting the pasture in mid-spring and late-spring. Treatment K1, with the highest amount of Ca and without K in its composition, provided higher crude protein values in the herbage than controls in 2009/10. When the effect of each nutrient was analysed separately, a strong and highly positive response of Mg application on herbage production was recorded. A surface application of fertilisers containing 25 kg Mg/ha in autumn could increase herbage yield by 40% under the studied conditions. However, Mg was not applied alone, and thus this increase could be due to an effect of Mg by itself or to a synergistic effect between Mg and other nutrients applied. The application of Ca, P and Mg may also favour the production of high-quality forage by yielding a greater cover of legumes and digestible protein.
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