The Effects of Nitrogen Source on Nutritive Value of Irrigated Silage Corn
Nitrogen is considered one of the most important nutrients affecting yield and quality of maize forage (Zea mays L.). A two-year field experiment was carried out to evaluate the effects of broiler litter and mineral fertilizer on dry matter production and silage quality of corn. The applied treatments were: unfertilized (control), 100, 200 and 300 kg ha-1 in the form of urea fertilizer (217, 434, and 651 kg urea ha-1, respectively) and 100, 200 and 300 kg ha-1 in the form of broiler litter (7142, 14284, and 21426 kg broiler litter ha-1, respectively). The present findings showed that Fe, Mn, Cu and Zn concentrations in forage corn were not affected by urea application; however, broiler litter application significantly increased Fe, Mn and Cu concentrations of corn stover in a linear trend. The broiler litter and urea fertilizer significantly increased both dry matter and protein content of forage corn but no significant differences on those components were obtained between broiler litter and urea fertilizer at each N application rate. The results suggested that N applied to forage corn by broiler litter, at the recommended rate for inorganic N fertilization, is almost more effective in terms of forage nutritive value response than urea fertilizer. The profitability of forage corn production could be enhanced by replacing chemical fertilizers with broiler litter.
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