Fertilizer research

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 219-234

First online:

Application strategies for Sechura phosphate rock use on permanent pasture

  • P. E. H. GreggAffiliated withDepartment of Soil Science, Massey University
  • , A. D. MackayAffiliated withDepartment of Scientific and Industrial Research, Grasslands Division
  • , L. D. CurrieAffiliated withDepartment of Soil Science, Massey University
  • , J. K. SyersAffiliated withDepartment of Agricultural and Environmental Science, The University

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At two phosphate (P) responsive sites in hill country the effectiveness of Sechura phosphate rock (SPR) as a direct application P fertilizer for permanent pasture was evaluated. Sechura was applied at two rates, in three different application strategies. The treatments were 16.7 and 50 kgP ha−1 annually, 25 and 75 kgP ha−1 biennially, and 50 and 150 kgP ha−1 triennially giving a total of 50 and 150 kgP ha−1, respectively, over three years. Single superphosphate (SSP) served as the standard P fertilizer. A comparison was also made between SPR and Chatham Rise phosphorite (CRP), another reactive PR. Total pasture and legume production and P uptake by pasture was measured with all fertilizer treatments over a three year period.

In the year of application, SPR was as effective as SSP in stimulating total pasture and legume production and P uptake by pasture. This reflects the very reactive nature of this PR. In the second and third years of measurement, SPR did not show superior residual efffects to SSP. The ability of CRP to stimulate legume growth more than SPR in the second year following application demonstrates the danger of generalizing about the residual effects of reactive PR materials. Of the application strategies evaluated, a biennial appplication of 25 kgP ha−1 as SPR maintained legume growth at a higher level than a smaller (16.7 kgP ha−1) annual dressing. The biennial strategy also increased total pasture yield, in addition to legume production to a greater extent in the second and third years than a single (50 kgP ha−1) triennial application.

Key words

Phosphate response legume growth pasture production single superphosphate reactive phosphate rock