Effect of Time of Nitrogen Application on Growth, Yield and Quality of Four Forage Sorghum Cultivars

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Eltelib, Hani Ahmed Mohamed
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Forage sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench) cultivar (Abusabien), Sudangrass (Sorghum sudanense) and two sorghum –Sudangrass hybrids (Panar and Speedfeed) were used in a field experiment at the Demonstration Farm of the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Khartoum, Sudan, during the period (June – October) 2003 to study the effect of time of nitrogen application on the performance of four forage sorghum cultivars. Nitrogen treatments were (N1) control, (N2) application of the whole dose two weeks after sowing, (N3) application of the whole dose five weeks after sowing and (N4) application of half of the dose two weeks from sowing and the other half after five weeks from sowing. The treatments were arranged in a split plot design with four replications. Parameters studied included: plant density, plant height, number of leaves/plant, stem diameter, leaf area (LA) and leaf area index (LAI). In addition forage yield (fresh and dry), crude protein and crude fiber contents were studied. The results showed significant differences among the cultivars for most of the characters while no significant differences among the fertilizer treatments and the interaction for most parameters studied in most of the counts. Abusabien was superior to other cultivars in leaf area, plant height, stem diameter and fresh weight of the first cut while the other cultivars were superior to Abusabien in the fresh and dry weight of the ratoon crop. No significant differences were detected among the cultivars in the crude protein content. The effect of time of nitrogen application was not significant on most of the growth attributes and forage yield, but early application of the whole dose seemed to increase most of growth parameters and forage yield. Time of nitrogen application significantly affected crude protein and crude fiber contents. However cultivars X time of nitrogen application interaction for leaf area was significant.
October 2004