Date of this Version
In: Forages: The Science of Grassland Agriculture, 6th Edition, ed.
In most forage production systems, the nutrients needed for plant growth are provided by microbially mediated breakdown and release of plant-available mineral nutrients from dead plant tissues, livestock excreta, soil organic matter, and geochemically bound mineral forms. Even in fertilized forage systems, determining appropriate fertilizer application rates requires a "systems" approach on the part of the manager (e.g., Di and Cameron, 2000; Rotz et al., 2002). Fertilizer additions are simply one input in the system of inputs, outputs, pools, and fluxes that characterize nutrient cycling in a particular ecosystem.