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Nitrogen For Spring Small Grain Forage

Posted Feb. 1, 1998

February to early March is the time of year to apply nitrogen (N) for spring small grain forage production. Many of the phone calls we receive this time of year concern the amount of N that is needed for spring forage production.

Two general principles are considered in answering the question. 1) The more N that is applied the greater the amount of small grain forage produced. 2) The last pound of N applied produces less forage than the pound preceding it. These principles (more N produces more forage but with less efficiency) are demonstrated in the graph at the right.

What you should be interested in is how much N to apply to reach your forage production goal. Our best possible answer will require us to know considerably more about your operation. To help you provide us with the necessary information about your pasture resources and your forage requirements, I have listed the pertinent questions with example answers in parentheses. Your answers to these questions will help us provide you with a N recommendation that is more effective and efficient for your spring small grain forage production.

In what county is the pasture located? (NE Grady Co.)

What variety(ies) and specie(s) are planted? (Oklon Rye)

What is the soil texture? (sand, silt, clay)

What is the soil moisture condition? (dry, moist, wet)

What is the pasture topography? (upland or bottomland)

What plant nutrients were applied for this crop? (N, P ,K, or lime)

What N sources are available at what price? (Urea @ $222/ton)

What is the average height of the plants? (4 inches)

What is the plant color? (pale green)

Has the pasture been grazed? (yes/no)

If the pasture has been grazed, how much forage was produced? This can be determined if you provide the acreage of the pasture, the number and weight of livestock, additional feed if any, and the number of days on pasture.

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