Effect of application timing and grass height on the nitrogen fertilizer replacement value of cattle slurry applied with a trailing-shoe application system



This study investigated the effect of using a trailing-shoe system to apply cattle slurry, under different conditions of grass height (low [LG]: freshly cut sward [4–5 cm height] vs. high [HG]: application delayed by 7–19 d and applied to taller grass sward [4–11 cm] height) and month of application (June vs. April), on the nitrogen fertilizer replacement value (NFRV) and apparent N recovery (ANRS) of cattle slurry applied to grassland. NFRV was calculated using two methods: (i) NFRVN based on the apparent recovery of slurry-N relative to that of mineral-N fertilizer; and (ii) NFRVDM based on DM yield. The effect of applying slurry into HG swards, relative to LG swards, decreased the DM yield by 0·47 t ha−1 ( 0·001), N uptake by 5 kg ha−1 (P = 0·05), ANRS by 0·05 kg kg−1 (P = 0·036), NFRVN by 0·05 kg kg−1 (P = 0·090) and NFRVDM by 0·11 kg kg−1 (< 0·001). It was concluded that the main factor causing these decreases with HG, compared with LG applications, was wheel damage affecting subsequent N uptake and growth of the taller grass sward.