Environmental influences on optimum nitrogen fertiliser rates for temperate dairy pastures
Pembleton, KG and Rawnsley, RP and Burkitt, LL, Environmental influences on optimum nitrogen fertiliser rates for temperate dairy pastures, European Journal of Agronomy, 45 pp. 132-141. ISSN 1161-0301 (2013) [Refereed Article]
Considerable variability in the yield response of temperate dairy pastures to the strategic use of nitrogen (N) fertiliser has been observed reviously. Some of this variation could potentially be attributed to environmental effects on the available N (soil mineral N plus fertiliser N) concentration required to
optimise pasture growth. Five nitrogen application rate response field experiments were undertaken in an attempt to elucidate the environmental influence on pasture mineral N requirements. A significant response to N fertiliser application rate was detected in four out of the five experiments. The absence of a significant response in one experiment can be attributed to limited water availability. Across the experiments where a significant response to N fertiliser rate was detected the available N that was required to achieve 90% of maximum yield ranged between 60 and 81 kg N/ha. It is concluded that when
water availability, soil temperatures and air temperatures are conducive to pasture growth an available N level of between 60 and 81 kg N/ha should be targeted when N fertiliser is used strategically to optimise pasture growth. Soil N testing results should be interpreted in light of the prevailing climatic and edaphic conditions if they are to be used to guide N fertiliser rate decisions within intensively managed temperate pastures.