Yield, chemical composition, digestibility and palatibility of orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.) fertilized with different levels of nitrogen and sulphur

TR Number
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The effects of three fertilization rates of N (0, 112 and 224 kg/ha) as ammonium nitrate and S (0, 34, and 67 kg/ha) as calcium sulphate on yield, chemical composition, digestibility and palatability of orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.) , were studied in a field experiment. Treatments were applied in a randomized block design with a 3x3 factorial arrangement of treatments with four replications. Hay was harvested on 18 Aug. 1982 and fed to sheep in metabolism trials. One half of the initial amount of fertilizer was reapplied and forage was stockpiled. Stockpiled growth was ensiled on 6 Nov. 1982 and was fed to sheep in palatability trials. Fertilizer was reapplied at the initial rates on 27 Apr. 1983 and yield and mineral concentrations were determined on 6 June 1983. Dry matter yield increased in response to N (P<0.01). Nitrogen fertilization decreased NDF (P<0.05) ADF, cellulose (P<0.01) and total S (P<0.01) and increased nitrate-N (P<0.01) in hay and stockpiled growth. In stockpiled growth S increased ADF ( P<0.05) and cellulose quadratically ( P<0.001) at the 34 kg/ha rate. Sulphur increased ( P<0.05) No₃-N in hay but decreased (P<0.05) it in stockpiled growth. The N:S ratio was increased (P<0.01) by N fertilization and decreased (P<0.05) by S fertilization. Nitrogen and S had a quadratic effect (P<0.0001) on lactic acid and water-soluble carbohydrates in silage. Digestibility or palatability of silage was not influenced by N or S.