• The phosphorus requirements for silage production on high fertility soils

      Power, V.; Tunney, Hubert; Jeffrey, D.W. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2005)
      The minimum phosphorus requirement for a mid-season ryegrass was investigated under cutting conditions over a 10-year period at each of three Teagasc sites (Clonroche, Johnstown Castle and Oak Park) in southeast Ireland. Treatments consisted of 0, 20, 30, 40, and 50 kg ha–1 year–1 P applied in autumn. Generally, there were three grass cuts each year and soil samples were taken after the third cut prior to the application of P. Nitrogen and potassium fertiliser was applied to ensure maximum grass yield. There was an emerging treatment effect over time as evidenced by the significance of the treatment × year interaction. The effect of site varied with year reflecting the variability in weather and number of cuts taken at the individual sites. A treatment effect on annual first-cut-silage yield was observed. The largest treatment difference for dry matter (DM) yield of first-cut silage was between the control and the P treated plots (0.32 t/ha). The results show that the draw down of soil-P reserves was adequate to maintain yield for a number of years without additional fertiliser P application. Initial soil tests indicated moderate to high soil test P levels (STP) as measured by the Morgan’s test. Application of P at equivalent to removal rates did not maintain STP. The results suggest that application of a regular small maintenance dressing of P, replacing realistic removals, is the most appropriate fertiliser application strategy.