Tropical Grasslands (2003) Volume 37, 165–169

Spring burning and splitting of nitrogen application may affect dry matter yield and flowering of Digitaria eriantha (Smuts finger grass)

PIETER A. PIETERSE

Hatfield Experimental Station, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

The influence of split application of N fertiliser and spring burning on the DM yield and seed production potential of Smuts finger grass (Digitaria eriantha) was investigated over 3 years in South Africa. Burning was applied in August–September and 150 kg/ha/yr N was applied either as a single spring application, after the burn, or as split applications of 75–100 kg/ha N in spring and the rest after the first harvest in December. Burning dormant D. eriantha had no significant effect on DM yield or flowering; however, burning after the onset of spring growth reduced both DM yield and flowering (P≤0.05). Splitting the application of 150 kg/ha/yr N had no consistent influence on total DM yield, but transferred more of the DM production to late summer and early autumn. Split application of fertiliser N caused a significant (P≤0.05) reduction in density of inflorescences in December.

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