Forage yield and quality of marandugrass fertigated with treated sewage wastewater and mineral fertilizer

<div><p>ABSTRACT. The high consumption of water in irrigated agriculture and lack of alternative water sources make reusing sewage water a highly promising option for irrigation. This paper is aimed at evaluating Brachiaria brizantha cv. Marandu forage quality and yield when fertigated with treated sewage wastewater (TSW) and mineral fertilizer, in the 2013 and 2014 crop years in Jaboticabal, São Paulo State, Brazil. A homogeneous water depth was applied using a triple-line sprinkling irrigation system under a gradual TSW application, using the following TSW and water ratios: E5 = 1.0; E4 = 0.87; E3 = 0.6; E2 = 0.31, E1 = 0.11, and E0 = 0.0. Annual biomass yield increased with the TSW application, ranging from 31.3 to 47.4 Mg ha-1 in 2013 and from 25.7 to 56.9 Mg ha-1 in 2014, for E1 and E5, respectively. Forage yield had marked seasonality, with the highest values in summer (35.9 to 44.7%) and spring (35.7 to 38.4%) and the lowest ones during the fall-winter seasons (19.6 to 25.7%). Despite the high nitrogen rates (1,132 kg ha-1), maximum forage yield was not achieved, hence further nitrogen increments would still enhance yield. Forage improved quality has counterbalanced the low fall-winter yields in terms of crude protein (CP) and neutral detergent fibre (NDF).</p></div>