Effects of Surface-Applied Dairy Slurry on Herbage Yield and Stand Persistence: II. Alfalfa, Orchardgrass, Tall Fescue and Alfalfa-Orchardgrass

  • Min, D.H. ;
  • Vough, L.R. ;
  • Chekol, T. ;
  • Kim, D.A.
  • Received : 1999.01.04
  • Accepted : 1999.03.03
  • Published : 1999.08.01


The first paper of this series compared the effects of rates and frequencies of application of dairy slurry on herbage yields and stand persistence of orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.), reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea L.), and alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.)-grass mixtures managed as a 4-cutting system. This paper compares the effects of rates and frequencies of application of dairy slurry on herbage yield and stand persistence of alfalfa, orchardgrass, tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.), and alfalfa-orchardgrass mixture managed as a 5-cutting system. The results presented here are part of a larger study having a primary objective of comparing alfalfa, various grasses, and alfalfa-grass mixtures for utilizing nutrients from dairy slurry applied to established stands. A randomized complete block design with treatments in a split plot arrangement with four replicates was used. The main plots consisted of 9 fertility treatments: 7 slurry rate and frequency of application treatments, one inorganic fertilizer treatment, and an unfertilized control. The sub-plots were the forage species. Manure used for the study was composed from stored solids scraped from the alleyways of a free-stall dairy barn. Water was added to from a slurry having about 8 % solids. Slurry was pumped from the liquid spreader tank into 10.4 L garden watering cans for manual application to the plots. Herbage yields of alfalfa, tall fescue, and alfalfa-orchardgrass were generally not affected by slurry application rates and were not significantly different from the inorganic fertilizer treatment. Tall fescue significantly outyielded all other forage species at all manure and the inorganic fertilizer treatments in the second year when rainfall during the growing season was unusually high. Grasses generally had a greater response to manure applications than alfalfa and alfalfa-orchardgrass. Increasing rates of manure did not increase herbage yields of alfalfa and alfalfa-orchardgrass. Herbage yields within each species were not affected by frequency of application of the same total rate. Stand ratings of alfalfa, orcahrdgrass and alfalfa-orchardgrass were significantly lower for the very high manure application rate compared to the control treatment. Based upon the results of this study, multiple annual applications of slurry manure can be made onto these species at rates up to $1,700kg\;total\;N\;ha^{-1}\;yr^{-1}$ without detrimental effects on herbage yield and stand persistence.


Dairy Slurry;Herbage Yield;Stand Persistence;Alfalfa;Grasses;Alfalfa-Orchardgrass;5-Cutting System

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