The most efficient use of N in tall fescue production depends on the timely application of the fertilizer. Applying N in spring more than a week or two before tall fescue begins to grow, or in late spring when moisture may become limiting shortly thereafter, will result either in poor utilization of N or inadequate growth.

There are two primary times when N should be applied, since N should be available when the plants begin to grow: spring and autumn. The first application should be made in early spring because, as temperatures begin to rise, plants begin to produce new tillers. A second spring application also can be made, as long as moisture is adequate. A good empirical rule is that if soil moisture is adequate and at least 1 mo remains in the typical spring growing season, 33 to 50 kg N/ha (30-45 lb/acre) may be applied.

Nitrogen should be applied also in the fall. The fall application will promote growth of high quality forage that can be grazed immediately or stockpiled as late fall‒winter pasture (see Stockpiling section in this chapter). Applying N late in the fall or under dry fall conditions will decrease the efficiency of use of this fertilizer nutrient.


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