Research Article| Volume 11, ISSUE 1, P20-25, March 1995

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Nitrate Concentrations in Hybrid Sudangrass and Pearl Millet Hays1

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      Samples (n=1772) of hybrid sudangrass and pearl millet hays were collected from three Agronomy Research Stations in 2 yr. Forty varieties in 1990 and 34 varieties in 1991 were evaluated for yield potential and nitrate accumulation. Forage types included in the data were: 1) sorghum x sudan, 2) sorgo x sudan, 3) sudan x sudan, and 4) pearl millet. Field locations were the Eastern Oklahoma Station, the South-Central Oklahoma Station, and the Southwestern Oklahoma Station. Nitrogen was applied as split applications of 56 kg of actual nitrogen per hectare at planting and after each harvest. Planting occurred in late May and harvesting was done as plants reached preboot to boot stage of seed head development. Plants were mechanically harvested at approximately 10 cm above the ground. Two or three cuttings were made at each location each year. Sun-cured samples (approximately 454 g) consisting of leaves and stems were obtained from each plot. Nitrate content was determined and adjusted to 100% dry matter forage. Varieties within forage type were not different (P>.9) from each other. A location x type interaction (P<.01) was observed. Pearl millet had a greater (P<.01) concentration of nitrate at all locations. The magnitude of the difference was greater when plants were stressed, resulting in large accumulation of nitrate in all forage types. A much greater (P<.05) proportion of the pearl millet samples had greater than 10,000 ppm nitrate and would be considered potentially toxic to ruminants.

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