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Without additions of 50 to 60 pounds of actual N per ton of yield goal top yields cannot be achieved. In addition a managed fertility program improves plant vigor and root development during optimum growing conditions of abundant soil moisture and cooler temperatures. A healthy, less stressed plant is better able to restore important plant reserves after harvest or grazing. Rapid regrowth from healthy plant crowns improves the opportunity for second cuttings. If moisture levels are normal and temperatures remain cool the application 50 to 60 pounds of additional Nitrogen immediately after first cutting or by mid-May in most pastures will pay dividends in production of high forage dry matter and quality yields.
A sound fertility management program for forages is based on soil testing and record keeping. High yields will result in large soil nutrient removals. Forage grasses require close attention to soil fertility inputs and removals just like high yielding row crops. Optimum forage production starts with optimum pH levels and the rapid availability of nutrients. Nitrogen management for optimum production requires 3 applications per season. The first application should be applied during the green up period in early Spring followed by a second application in May and a third treatment in early September.
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