Nitrogen Fertilizer Rate Effect on Forage Sorghum Yield, Quality, and Tissue Nitrogen Concentrations at Maricopa, AZ, 2015
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AbstractA nitrogen fertilizer study was conducted in order to determine the effect of N rates on forage sorghum yield and quality and to develop tissue testing guidelines for fertilizer application to forage sorghum. The study was conducted at the University of Arizona Maricopa Agricultural center on sandy clay loam soil irrigated using the flood method. Forage sorghum was fertilized with six N rates varying from 0 to 250 lb N/acre in 50 lb N/acre increments. The whole plant, lower stem, and most recently expanded leaf were sampled five times during the growing season and analyzed for N content in order to establish tissue N guidelines for fertilizer application. The plant part that was most sensitive to N fertilizer application and plant N status was lower stem. Leaf and plant N levels were not affected by fertilizer application. The stem nitrate and stem N tests were able to identify N deficient plants very early in the season, long before plant growth was affected by the N deficiency, unlike leaf and plant N. Forage yield at final harvest fitted to a quadratic function was maximized at the 250 lb N/acre N rate. However, the yield increase with any amount of fertilizer did not pay for the cost of the fertilizer and the most economical N rate for yield was no N fertilizer applied at all. In terms of milk per acre, the maximum was achieved at 150 lb N/acre, and the economic optimum in terms of milk was slightly less than this amount of fertilizer.
Series/Report no.University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Service and Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin
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