FIELD COMPARISON OF LIQUID, GRANULAR, AND FOLIAR NITROGEN FERTILIZERS ON IMPROVED BERMUDAGRASS VARIETIES FOR FORAGE PRODUCTION
County Extension Coordinator
University of Georgia
Nitrogen fertilizers are a critically needed input for hay producers. Producers have several choices, including granular; liquid, ground-applied; as well as liquids promoted as “foliar fertilizers”. On-farm comparison trials were established in Madison, Banks and Elbert Counties, Georgia using 16 ft2 plots in bermudagrass hayfields of different varieties. Treatments included a control with no N fertilizer (Cont.), calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN; 27% N), urea-ammonium nitrate (UAN; 32% N), urea (U; 46% N), urea treated with Agrotain® urease inhibitor (AgT; 46% N), foliar fertilizer applied at product-labeled rate (Fol-L; 42%), and foliar fertilizer applied at an N-rate based on University of Georgia recommendations (Fol-U; 42%). Fol-L was applied at 5.25 lbs. N/acre (total 21 lbs. N/Ac) while other treatments were applied at 75 lbs. N/acre on four fertilizer applications (total 300 lbs. N/Ac). Fertilizers were applied and forage harvested at 4-wk intervals. A randomized complete block design was used with four treatment replications. Yields were significantly lower in Fol-L and Cont. treatments compared to others while yields from Fol-L and Cont. treatments were not significantly different from each other. Though Fol-U treatment yields were not different from conventional fertilizers, the expense of applying foliar 42-0-0 fertilizer at sufficient N rates is 5-8 times more expensive (Cost/Lb. Forage) than conventional N fertilizer. We conclude that the use of the foliar fertilizer at the labeled rate will not provide comparable yields to conventional N fertilizer at recommended rates and using this foliar fertilizer at recommended rates of N is not cost-effective or practical.
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Authors: R.A. Speir, R.C. Waldorf, C.S. Talton, D.W. Hancock
Speir, R. County Extension Agent, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, Madison County, Georgia, 30633
Waldorf, R. County Extension Agent, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, Banks County, Georgia, 30547
Talton, C. County Extension Agent, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, Elbert County, Georgia, 30635
Hancock, D. Extension Forage Specialist, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Georgia, 30602