Original Articles

Nutrition of intensive pastures in the summer rainfall areas of southern Africa

DOI: 10.1080/02566702.1991.9648260
Author(s): N. MilesDepartment of Agricultural Development, Republic of South Africa


Consideration is given to the current state of knowledge regarding the nutrition of cultivated pastures in the summer rainfall areas of southern Africa. Research efforts over the years have concentrated on the nitrogen (N) requirements of pastures, with relatively little significant work being undertaken on phosphorus (P), potassium (K) and lime. The numerous N response curves derived in cutting trials provide a useful basis for predicting N requirements under cutting‐and‐removal type utilization, but are of little value in predicting N requirements under grazing. The critical roles of P, K and lime in pasture productivity and persistence have been demonstrated in field trials undertaken in the Natal Midlands and south‐eastern Transvaal. Soil test calibrations, established for several important pasture species on Natal soils, have been found to provide a sound basis for predicting P, K and lime requirements of pastures. In considering the direction of future research, it is suggested that considerable potential exists for more efficient fertilizer and lime usage; research efforts should therefore be channelled in that direction.

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