Natural Resources, School of


Date of this Version



In: Forages: The Science of Grassland Agriculture, 6th Edition, ed.


U.S. government work


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.