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NEW FERTILIZER TRIAL

Hay Yields From New Fertilizer Trial:
This trial was seeded in the spring of 1965 and originally consisted of plots of nordan crested wheatgrass, Lincoln Brome, Intermediate wheatgrass, and Russian wildrye. The bromegrass and Intermediate wheatgrass plots suffered severe stand losses in 1958 and 1959, and consequently have not been harvested as part of the trial since 1960. Yield data for these latter two grasses have not been included in the summary tables. Lincoln brome has shown appreciable stand improvement since 1960, and a trial clipping was made in 1965. The plots of nordan crested and Russian wildrye include the following treatments: (1) Each grass in pure stand; (2) the grass in mixture with Ladak Alfalfa; (3) fertilized with 33 pounds N per acre ; (4) fertilized with 67 pounds N per acre; and (5) fertilized with 100 pounds N per acre. Fertilizer applications were made to the plots in the fall of 1957 and 1958, but all other applications have been made in the spring of each of the years.

Hay yields for nordan crested and Russian wildrye are given in table 10 for the period of 1958-1965. The 1965 yields, while not the highest hay yields that have been obtained on the plots, still represent excellent yields, being nearly equal to the 1963 yields, which are the highest yields yet obtained in the trial. The crested wheatgrass hay yields in the 1965 season were substantially better than the Russian wildrye yields, except for the 100 pounds N plots, where the wildrye yield of 4477 pounds per acre approached the crested wheatgrass yield of 4781 pounds per acre for the same treatment. The 8-year average yields show that under hay clipping the crested wheatgrass check plots and the grass-alfalfa plots have produced about 53 percent greater yield than the Russian wildrye plots. On the 33 pound N plots nordan crested has produced about 48 percent more than the Russian wildrye plots. At 67 and 100 pounds of nitrogen crested wheatgrass hay yields have been 38 percent and 25 percent greater than the wildrye yields.

The mixture plots with alfalfa, in the case of both nordan crested and Russian wildrye, showed fairly good increases over check yields in the 1965 season. The crested-alfalfa plots produced 35 percent more than the crested check plots, while the wildrye-alfalfa plots produced 31 percent more than the wildrye check plots. However, the average yields for the 8-year period with both grasses show that the alfalfa-grass mixtures have produced only about 13 percent more than the check plots. The alfalfa largely disappeared from the stands after the second year of the trial, and as a result the mixtures have not produced as well as might be expected.

On the basis of average yields over the period of the trial all levels of fertilizer applications on both grasses have produced profitable increases in yield, although the first 33 pound increment of nitrogen has produced the greatest return per unit of nitrogen.

Table 10. Hay Yield of Two Grasses in Pure Stands, in Mixture with Alfalfa, and in Pure Stands Fertilized at Three Different Rates.
Grass Year Dry-Weight Yield - Pounds/Acre
Grass Alone With Alfalfa 33 Lbs. N 67 Lbs. N 100 Lbs. N
Nordan Crested 1958 1809 1647 1832 2491 2724
  1958 1416 1827 2120 1737 2011
  1960 2134 2485 2910 2713 2714
  1961 1036 1012 1187 1120 1108
  1962 1859 2136 3171 3242 3573
  1963 3075 3268 4438 6030 6881
  1964 905 1044 1016 1401 1458
  1965 1786 2412 3140 4281 4781
Average   1753 1979 2477 2877 3156
Russian Wildrye 1958 941 1111 1224 1613 1984
  1959 778 841 975 971 1086
  1960 1287 1312 1710 1823 1997
  1961 643 616 821 761 777
  1962 1338 1395 2041 2077 2746
  1963 1661 2230 2345 3806 4388
  1964 1425 1446 2132 2055 2694
  1965 1083 1415 2147 3618 4477
Average   1145 1296 1674 2091 2519

Pasture Yields from New Fertilizer Trial:
Pasture clipping yields have been taken on the nordan crested wheatgrass and the Russian wildrye plots for the 5-year period, 1961-1965. The clippings were made twice in the 1961 and 1963 seasons and three times in 1962, 1964, and 1965 seasons. Table 11 gives the pasture-clipping yields for each of the seasons of the trial and the average for the period for each treatment.

The pasture-clipping yields from both grasses were good in the 1965 season, but they were not the equal of the 1962 and 1963 yields obtained under pasture clipping. The yields from the Russian wildrye plots under all treatments with pasture clipping continued to be appreciably better than the crested wheatgrass yields under the same conditions. The Russian wildrye-alfalfa plots yielded about 6 percent more than the crested-alfalfa plots in the 1965 season. The 33-pounds-N Russian wildrye plots produced 26 percent more, the 67-pounds-N plots produced 34 percent more, and the 100-pound-N plots produced 43 percent more than the comparable crested wheatgrass plots. The 5 year average yields, however, do not indicate a significant difference in pasture-clipping yields between the two grasses.

The alfalfa mixtures with both grasses have not yielded much more than the check plots on the basis of the 5-year average production. The alfalfa largely disappeared from the plots from the plots two years after they were seeded, and as a result the yield increases resulting from the addition of alfalfa have been disappointingly small. Nonetheless it is apparent from the 1965 yields that the effect of the alfalfa has continued to stimulate production under favorable conditions.

On the basis of the 5-year averages of the pasture-clipping trials all rates of fertilization on both grasses have produced increases in yield above the breakeven point on a pounds-of-nitrogen, pounds-of-grass value comparison. The returns from the 67-pounds-N rate on both grasses appears to be the most economical so far. The additional increase at the 100 pounds level is not great enough to justify the use of this heavier rate of fertilization.

Table 11. Pasture Clipping Yields of Two grasses in Pure Stands, in Mixture With Alfalfa, and in Pure Stands Fertilized at Three Different Rates.
Grass Year Dry - Weight Yield - Lbs./Acre
Grass Alone With Alfalfa 33 Lbs. N 67 Lbs. N 100 Lbs. N
Nordan Crested 1961 938 982 1001 1171 1134
  1962 2097 2284 2506 3098 3964
  1963 1875 2223 2459 3738 4388
  1964 1102 1100 1287 1338 1453
  1965 1093 1483 1581 2091 2127
Average   1421 1614 1767 2287 2613
Russian Wildrye 1961 656 679 793 836 912
  1962 2105 2221 2577 3134 3354
  1963 1372 1597 2126 3086 3506
  1964 980 1115 1592 2093 1859
  1965 1209 1574 1965 2812 3052
Average   1264 1437 1811 2392 2537

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