Fertilizer application enable producers to influence pasture production. The effect of N fertilization on grass production and leguminous plant content of pasture and strategic N application has received much attention. Changing agricultural policies suggest that chemical fertilizer inputs may be diminished and that alternative sources of nutrients are desired. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of N and K fertilization on production, botanical composition, and forage mineral composition to gain some insight into what influence changing fertilization practices would have on pasture productivity. Three K and 3 N application rates were applied in a factorial design on a white clover (Trifolium repens L.)—perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) sward. Potassium and nitrogen application increased herbage production and had differential influences on botanical composition. Nitrogen decreased clover content in the pasture, whereas K increased the proportion and production of white clover. The effects of K application appeared later in the experiment than those associated with N. We concluded that K is very important for development and maintenance of white clover in pasture, which increases herbage and protein production. Nitrogen was associated with lesser amounts of N, P, K, and Mg in pasture, because of lesser amounts of clover in the sward. Changing fertilization practices will have definite influences on sward composition and pasture productivity. Any interpretation of pasture mineral content should take botanical composition changes into account.
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Vol. 57 • No. 3