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Open AccessArticle

Changes and Interactions between Grassland Ecosystem Soil and Plant Properties under Long-Term Mineral Fertilization

1
National Agricultural and Food Centre, Grassland and Mountain Agriculture Research Institute, Mládežnícka 36, 974 21 Banská Bystrica, Slovakia
2
Faculty of Natural Sciences, Matej Bel University Banská Bystrica, Tajovského 40, 974 01 Banská Bystrica, Slovakia
3
Faculty of European Studies and Regional Development, Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra, Tr. A. Hlinku 2, 949 76 Nitra, Slovakia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agronomy 2020, 10(3), 375; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10030375
Received: 12 February 2020 / Revised: 27 February 2020 / Accepted: 6 March 2020 / Published: 9 March 2020
Grasslands intensification by use of mineral fertilization has contributed substantially to the increase in forage production. Intensification, however, can degrade the other beneficial functions or soil properties. The effects of mineral fertilization on soil and plant chemical qualities of a permanent wet grassland (Festucetum pratense association) were investigated in Slovakia. The grassland was treated using 3 different N, P, and K rates of mineral fertilizers in kg. ha−1. yr−1 plus the Control (0NPK) almost over 60-year period (1961–2017). The N, P, and K rates in low NPK treatment (LNPK) were N50, P15.4, and K 41.5, in the medium NPK treatment (MNPK) were N100, P30.8, and K83, and in the high NPK treatment (HNPK) were N200, P 61.6, and K 166, respectively. Overall, soil variables (pH, soil organic carbon, plant-available K) showed the most significant changes. A more balanced development was observed in case of soil total nitrogen, C:N ratio, and plant-available P. ANOVA revealed a significant effect between treatments only on plant-available P. In the case of plant functional group development, long-term mineral addition significantly disfavors legumes and forbs. However, analyses of the botanical composition over the last 5 years showed that legume cover significantly differs only in the HNPK treatment. Plant C:P, N:P, and N:K ratios were significantly reduced when fertilizers were added. In terms of grasslands yields, the highest biomass and content of macronutrients were obtained under the HNPK rates. However, with regard to the quality and quantity of the soil organic matter, the most appropriate treatment has been with the MNPK rates. Our findings demonstrate that medium fertilization seems to be an acceptable compromise to meet both productivity and environmental aspects and to connect ecological benefits with social benefits in the long term. View Full-Text
Keywords: permanent grassland; mineral fertilization; soil; plant C:N:P ratios; chemical properties permanent grassland; mineral fertilization; soil; plant C:N:P ratios; chemical properties
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MDPI and ACS Style

Vargová, V.; Kanianska, R.; Kizeková, M.; Šiška, B.; Kováčiková, Z.; Michalec, M. Changes and Interactions between Grassland Ecosystem Soil and Plant Properties under Long-Term Mineral Fertilization. Agronomy 2020, 10, 375. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10030375

AMA Style

Vargová V, Kanianska R, Kizeková M, Šiška B, Kováčiková Z, Michalec M. Changes and Interactions between Grassland Ecosystem Soil and Plant Properties under Long-Term Mineral Fertilization. Agronomy. 2020; 10(3):375. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10030375

Chicago/Turabian Style

Vargová, Vladimíra; Kanianska, Radoslava; Kizeková, Miriam; Šiška, Bernard; Kováčiková, Zuzana; Michalec, Milan. 2020. "Changes and Interactions between Grassland Ecosystem Soil and Plant Properties under Long-Term Mineral Fertilization" Agronomy 10, no. 3: 375. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10030375

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