Festulolium seed production dependence on fertilizer application system
Voronezh State Agrarian University named after Emperor Peter the Great, Department of Crop Science, Forage Production and Agricultural Technologies, ul. Mitchurina 1, RU394087 Voronezh, Russia
Festulolium (× Festulolium F. Aschers. et Graebn.) is a new perennial grass Роасеае family. The benefits of this culture are good regrow capacity, increased sugars content and higher winter hardiness. It can be used as a green feed when creating cultivated hayfields and pastures. Widespread application of this new culture for forage production is constrained by the shortage of seeds, due to the imperfection of their production technologies. There are still very few of studies on the biology and technology of Festulolium cultivation in the forest-steppe of the Central Chernozem Region of Russia (CCR). The experiments involved the VIC-90 Festulolium variety with the first crop being the vetch-oat mixture harvested for green fodder. The soil in the experimental plots was leached medium thick medium loamy chernozem. The humus content in the arable horizon was 4.56%, pH was 4.9, degree of base saturation was 74‒86%, P2O5 content was 129 mg kg-1, K2O content was 115 mg kg-1 (according to Chirikov) and the hydrothermal index was 1.13. The experiment included the following variants: no fertilizer application (control) and application of mineral fertilizers (ammonium nitrate and ammonium nitrate phosphate fertilizer) at different doses. Soil preparation was conventional for seed swards of perennial grasses in the CCR. Festulolium was sown in broad drills by coverless sowing to the depth of 0.5–1.0 cm at the seeding rate of 6.0 kg ha-1. Experiments, records, observations and determination of economic and bioenergetic efficiency were carried out according to conventional procedures. It was found that the climatic conditions in the forest steppe of the CCR were favorable for Festulolium seed cultivation. Application of mineral nitrogen fertilizers in autumn at a dose of 60 kg ha-1 of active ingredient (AI) ensures the formation of high yielding erect seed-producing sward, and can increase harvest energy efficiency an average by 1.45‒1.82 times and obtain 591‒620 kg ha-1 of certified seeds. The greatest profitability of production (179%) and the highest notional farm net income (RUB 43,000 per hectare) are provided by a single application of ammonium nitrate fertilizer at a dose of 60 kg ha-1 of active ingredient in autumn (after vegetative mass topping).