Production and nutrition of irrigated Tanzania guinea grass in response to nitrogen fertilization


R. Bras. Zootec.




The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of nitrogen (N) fertilization in the four seasons of the year on forage production, nitrate (NO3) in the sap, total N in the forage and relative chlorophyll index (SPAD reading) in the leaves of irrigated Panicum maximum cv. Tanzania grass, establishing their critical ranges. In addition, we evaluated the ability to predict forage production based on NO3 in the sap, total N in the forage and relative chlorophyll index. The soil in the experimental area was classified as an Oxisol (Red-Yellow Latosol) with a clayey texture. Annual rates of N (0, 200, 400 and 800 kg ha-1) in the form of urea were the treatments tested. Irrigation was performed through a conventional spray system. The NO3 content in the sap and the relative chlorophyll index were measured in leaves using a portable meter with NO3 selective electrode and the SPAD-502 portable chlorophyll meter device, respectively. Tanzania guinea grass was very responsive to N fertilization, except in the winter. The critical ranges of the SPAD reading proved to be more adequate for monitoring the nutritional state of N of Tanzania guinea grass in the different seasons of the year than the NO3content in the sap and the total N content in the dry matter. Use of the chlorophyll meter is more advantageous than the use of the portable meter with an nitrate selective electrode for predicting the nutritional status of Tanzania guinea grass.

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