State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2011AL115B
Title: Forage and Fertilization Management Practices to Ensure Quality of Runoff from Pasture Under Grazing Beef Cattle
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2011
End Date: 2/28/2012
Congressional District: Third
Focus Categories: Water Quality, Non Point Pollution, Agriculture
Keywords: Watershed Management, Water Quality, Runnoff, Agriculture, Nutrients, Bacteria, Suspended Sediments
Principal Investigators: Muntifering, Russell B.; Feng, Yucheng; McCaskey, Thomas A.; Owsley, Walter F. (Auburn University); Wood, Charles Wesley
Federal Funds: $ 25,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 50,001
Abstract: This research will quantify effects of N fertilization regime on forage nutrient uptake, microbial and nutrient returns in grazing-cattle excreta and water quality of runoff from pastures with high background soil-test P. Permanent winter/spring (predominantly tall fescue) and summer (predominantly bermudagrass) pastures will be sod-seeded with triticale/crimson clover and cowpea, respectively, and receive no N fertilization, a single application of 50% of the recommended rate of N fertilization, or a split application of 100% of the recommended rate of N fertilization for the predominant seasonal forage. Statistical associations between runoff characteristics, precipitation patterns and amounts, microbial and nutrient returns from cattle feces, and forage productivity and uptake of nutrients for each plant speciec will be determined. Variance among these and their predictive relationships with nutrient, microbiological and sediment loading in runoff will be established. We predict that the single-application treatment will be superior to the negative control and split-application treatments in terms of plant productivity and uptake of soil P, and that differences in nutrient uptake by pasture plants among experimental treatments will be mediated by changes in botanical composition of the pastures, plant productivity, and guantity and bioavailability of nutrients returned to the pasture in cattle feces.

Progress/Completion Report, 2011, PDF

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