Austrian role model for standards in fertilization and seeding of pastures

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Sufficient grassland fertilisation is an important fact for productive grassland. Nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and chalk are the most powerful and necessary nutrients for good grassland yields.

Nitrogen applied in correct quantities provides the best mass yields.

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Austrian role model for standards in fertilization and seeding of pastures

  1. 1. Austrian Role Model for Standards in Fertilization and Seeding of Pastures and Crop Forage Fodder Workshop Pasture and Grazing Management in Mongolia J HUMER For an appropriate fertilizationarough estimation of the yieldable dry matter in tons per hectare is helpful.Additionallythe yieldreturnsare categorizedinthe tree levels:low,medium and high for an easier handling mode. Austrian Pasture and Crop Forage Dry Matter Yield Ranges Usage of the vegetation Yield return Yield return Yield return low average high in t DM/ha and year Permanent pastures All day pasture < 6,0 6,0 – 9,0 > 9,0 Half day pasture (below 12 h) < 6,5 6,5 – 9,5 > 9,5 Very extensive – low input pasture < 2,0  2,0 - Crop forage fodder Legume stressed <7,0 7,0 – 10,0 >10,0 Grass stressed <7,0 7,0 – 10,5 >10,5 Pure Grass inventory <8,0 8,0 – 12,0 >12,0 Nitrogen Fertilisation of Pastures and Field Forage Crops Sufficientgrasslandfertilisationisanimportantfact for productive grassland.Nitrogen,phosphorus, potassiumandchalkare the mostpowerful andnecessarynutrientsforgoodgrasslandyields. Nitrogenappliedincorrectquantitiesprovidesthe bestmassyields. The following tables show the fully needed yearly nutrient demand per hectare depending by the given yields in the above table. Yield returns are furthermore categorized in the tree levels: low, medium and high. So at a quick glance you find the right values.
  2. 2. Austrian Recommended NITROGEN FERTILIZATION for pastures and field forage fodder crops per hectare and year by three yield levels in kg/ha/year: Utilization of the vegetation Yield return Yield return Yield return low average high kg N/ha kg N/ha kg N/ha Permanent pastures All day pasture 40 - 60 70 - 100 130 – 150 Half day pasture (below 12 h) 50 - 70 90 - 110 130 – 150 Very extensive – low input pasture - - - Crop forage fodder Legume stressed 0 - 40 0 - 40 0 - 40 Grass stressed 60 - 100 140 - 180 210 Pure Grass inventory - 160 - 200 210 Phosphorus and Potassium Fertilisation of Pastures and Field Forage Crops PhosphorusandPotassiumappliedincorrectquantitiesisveryimportantwhenlow soilcontentsby P and K occur and forsure yieldsandvaluable andnutriablefodder. Austrian Recommended P and K FERTILIZATION for pastures and field forage fodder crops per hectare and year by three yield levels in kg/ha/year: Utilization of the vegetation Yield return Yield return Yield return low average high P205 K20 P205 K20 P205 K20 Permanent pastures kg/ha kg/ha kg/ha kg/ha kg/ha kg/ha All day pasture 10 20 15 30 25 40 Half day pasture (below 12 h) 35 90 60 160 70 200 extensive – low input pasture 10 20 20 35 - - Crop forage fodder Legume stressed 50 155 65 190 95 310 Grass stressed 50 145 70 205 125 365 Pure Grass inventory - - 70 225 135 390 A surcharge of 20 to 40 % bythe nutrient Pand K isrecommended,if the soil nutrientstatusislow. A reductionorno fertilizingismade if the soil nutrientstatusishigh.
  3. 3. Austrian Pasture Yield Ranges for FERTILIZATION
  4. 4. Fertilizer and Manure Utilization A firstthe nutrientsof manure of stabledanimalsshouldbe carefullyreusedbyrecyclingtofertilize the land.At the beginning,additionallynutrientsmaybe used.Thismakesthe soil more fertilethat goodpasture grassescan be betterandappropriate established. If no soil nutrientstatusinformationare availableitisrecommendedtouse followingmineral fertilizersinfollowingturnif theyare available: NPK, complex fertilizers,withaNPK%proportionof about 15:15:15 NP,Diammoniaphosphate,with20 %N, 46% P N-fertilizer,withammoniaandnitrate,nourea. From 500 kg Livestockyoucan calculate aboutthisavailable nutrients Nitrogen: 50 kg Phosphorus: 30 kgP2O5 Potassium: 80 kg K20 Manure maybe bestusedbycompostingtomake it gooddistributable andlessvoluminous.Forbest efficiencyof the nutrientsuse itmaybe distributedbeforerainyseasons.
  5. 5. Renewing of grassland In Austria about 50% of the permanent grassland in the hilled and mountainous area is used in an extensive way with a low stocking rate and is cut or grazed once or twice a year. The renewing of these permanent pastures and meadows is basically ensured by self-seeding of grasses clover and herbs. Normally there is no need for renewing measures, with the exception of sward damage. Permanent grassland in favourable regions is used three to seven times in very productive areas per year. Often the natural regeneration of the sward by self-seeding is not sufficient so resowing methods have been developed to a very high level. Resowing methods depends strongly on the topographical situation and climatic conditions. Pasture reclamationby hoof cultivation Destroyed pastures can be recultivated and reclaimed if they are grazed in summer by cows, calves or lambs. Grass/legume seeds mixture is sowed 2-5 days before the end of grazing to be trodden in and lime, magnesia and NPK can be applied after grazing ended. Much more good fodder grassland can be restored by grazing on improved pasture. Reclamation is satisfactory and cost about half as much as ploughing and sowing. In the following spring, sown herbage could be mainly established as new green matter. Over-seeding This is the most used method for improving permanent meadows and pastures in Austria. Beside self-constructions, also more different types of combined machines with a curry- comb, seed hopper and roller are developed on the market for special purposes. These special adaptations also can be used for special like steeped grassland. The recommended amount of seed mixture for this kind of resowing method ranges from 12 to 20 kg/ha. The total costs (including machinery and seed mixture) amount from 100 to 200 €/ha. Slot row seeding This method is especially recommended for dry regions to ensure a safe germination of the seeds. Further it is used for the application of infected barley to control pests like grubs in the soil. Band rotavator seeding Band rotavator seeding was developed especially in Austria for establishing new lawn strips in dryer areas to improve the germinating conditions and to preserve a part of the good natural grasses and to avoid a complete ploughing up. Rotor tilling seeding
  6. 6. Seeding with Rotor tillers is a way to renew the grassland in one step. It has nearly like the good efficient as ploughing over and seeding a new stand without the laborious and costly process of ploughing up. Special formed wedged tines guaranties a well seed bed for germinating not disturbed by the big plant mass of the old stand. Even by stony soils this technique works fine. Ploughing up Turning over and seeding a new stand of grassland is laborious and costly process. But it guaranties the best stand establishment of a new sward for grassland or pastures. It is also strictly limited by the Austrian Environmental Programme (ÖPUL). In some cases grassland can only be ploughed or rotavated if there is no other way to improve the sward or to control weeds. The recommended amount of seed mixture for a blank seed ranges from 25 to 30 kg/ha, depending on the kind of utilisation (pasture, meadow, ley farming) and on specific conditions (high altitude, special grasses of the seed mixture). Ley farming in Austria for very productive fodder productiononareas with better soil conditions Beside permanent grassland, farmland is used for ley farming with grass, clover or grass/clover mixtures. Especially for extensive grassland farming systems, organic farms and integrated farms, biological N-fixation plays an important role for their nutrient fluxes and nitrogen budget. The development of legumes on permanent grassland and the use of legumes in seed mixtures for ley farming is an efficient strategy to save external N-input. Ley farming areas are very productive, as only on 9 % the areas provide around 19 % of the total net yield and 20 % of the total energy yield and 26 % of the total protein yield. Austrianseedmixtures for classic grasslandandalpine mountainous grassland The establishment of new grassland causes some additional problems under the harsh conditions of the mountains. Deep temperatures (average annual temperature +/- 6.5°C), frost, snow, and the short vegetation period demand for a special strategy concerning the quality and the composition of seed mixtures. Breeding and testing activities on grasses and clover, including species for the restoration of Alpine environments are in Austria done. Additionally available varieties of forage grasses and clover are steadily tested all over Austria, for longer growing periods. Beside yield, important parameters as weed infestation, growing height, flowering, regrowth and post winter performance, snow mould, mildew are detected. All these criteria are used to find out the best possible varieties for the Austrian grassland. On the basis of the variety testing seed mixtures for different utilisation on grassland are created and tested. Several grass and clover species have been used for such seed mixtures with special consideration of productivity and forage quality. Such seed mixtures also reduce the risk of unforeseeable problems with unfavourable weather conditions. In terms of the harsh climatic conditions in alpine regions, aspects of persistence, endurance and winter hardness are of great interest. There are 35 Austrian different seed mixtures available for permanent grassland (meadows,
  7. 7. pastures, restoration of alpine environments, for reseeding activities and for ley farming areas. To improve the competitive power of grass-clover mixtures, they mostly are grown as an under-seed or with a covering crop and used for a longer duration to compensate the costs of establishment and relatively low productivity in the first year. Only the best varieties of the different grass and clover species should be used for such quality seed mixtures. Restoration of Alpine ecosystems Restoration activities at high altitudes, following terrain corrections in the course of constructing ski runs, forest and alpine-meadow trails, measures for the improvement of tourism infrastructure or torrent and avalanche barriers are a special challenge. Only the combination of highly qualitative plant or seed material, well adapted to the site, with optimum restoration technique ensures sustainable success. Conventional standard mixtures available on the market mainly comprise high growing non-site-specific lower plants originally bred for grassland economy in valley locations or as grasses for sporting events. Site-specific subalpine are adapted to an optimum degree to the high-zone climate. They produce less biomass, but with an appropriate choice of species, they do produce high-quality feed. The use of such specific seed mixtures the sowing volumes could be reduced commonly from 300 to 120 kg per hectare. References BMLFUW (2006): Richtlinien für die sachgerechte Düngung. Fachbeirat für Bodenfruchtbarkeit und Bodenschutz. 6. Auflage, Bundesministerium für Land- und Forstwirtschaft, Wien, 80 S KIKUCHI H et al, 1965: Research on the pasture reclamation by hoof cultivation, Paper presented at the 9th Int. Grassland Congress, São Paulo, Brazil POETSCH E M et al, 2007: Grassland renovation in Austria - specific aspects of grassland improvment in mountainous regions. Plant Research International, Wageningen UR, Report 148