Master of Science (MS)


Plant, Environmental Management and Soil Sciences

Document Type



Phosphorus (P) loading into surface water from runoff and subsurface flow leaving soils subjected to long-term applications of poultry litter (PL) will degrade water quality. A practical way to reduce such loading is to remove soil P through plant uptake and harvest removal. The primary field study presented here examined the effectiveness of hay harvest utilizing a double-cropped system - perennial warm-season forage grass, common bermudagrass (CB; Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.), overseeded with annual ryegrass (ARG; Lolium multiflorum Lam.), a cool-season forage, in reducing soil P from a Ruston fine-sandy loam impacted by PL amendments. A secondary field study similarly examined CB, bahiagrass (BG; (Paspalum notatum Flugge.), crabgrass (CG; Digitaria sanguinalis (L.) Scop.) and switchgrass (SG; Panicum virgatum L.). The primary study was conducted as a randomized block design with three replicate plots of four previous rates of PL (0, 5, 10 and 20 Mg ha-1) applied annually (1996-2001) to CB sod, at the Calhoun Research Station in Calhoun, Louisiana. Following the last PL application, plots were overseeded with ARG in Fall 2001, forage harvested and analyzed for dry matter yield, tissue P concentration and P removal. Double-cropped ARG and CB were harvested as hay and analyzed as above through 2005, giving four years of data. In Spring 2002, four small sub-plots BG, CB, CG and SG were established in the upper end of the main plots used in the primary study and corresponding data for these warm-season forages was collected for three years. Over four years, ARG removed more soil P than did CB (112 vs. 76 kg P ha-1, averaged across all rates of previous PL application and soil Bray2 P levels) because of higher tissue P concentration. The double-cropped hay system, therefore, removed nearly 200 kg P ha-1 or reduced soil P by about 100 mg kg-1. Despite low tissue P concentration, high biomass production by SG extracted an average of 64 kg P ha-1 annually over three years. This rate was significantly greater than that for CB, BG or CB, and perhaps equaled or exceeded the combined rate for ARG and CB in the double-cropped system.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Lewis Gaston