Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: HYDROLOGIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF CONSERVATION PRACTICES IN OKLAHOMA AGRICULTURAL WATERSHEDS

Location: Great Plains Agroclimate and Natural Resources Research Unit

Title: Interspecies variation of forage nutritive value and nonstructural carbohydrates in perennial cool-season grasses

Authors
item Zhao, Duli
item Mackown, Charles
item Starks, Patrick
item Kindiger, Bryan

Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 1, 2007
Publication Date: March 25, 2008
Citation: Zhao, D., Mackown, C.T., Starks, P.J., Kindiger, B.K. 2008. Interspecies variation of forage nutritive value and nonstructural carbohydrates in perennial cool-season grasses. Agronomy Journal. 100:837-844.

Interpretive Summary: Forage nitrogen (N) and nonstructural carbohydrate (NSC) concentrations are important indicators of forage quality, and knowledge of N and NSC variation among grass germplasm is one element to consider in developing a successful forage and livestock management program. An experiment was conducted in 2004 and 2005 at the USDA-ARS, Grazinglands Research Laboratory, El Reno, OK to investigate concentrations of N, neutral detergent fiber (NDF), acid detergent fiber (ADF), glucose, fructose, sucrose, fructans, and starch in 13 perennial cool-season grass entries from five plant species at the heading stage. Year and grass species influenced both forage N and NSC concentrations. Total NSC around heading stage ranged from 70 to 112 g/kg (dry weight basis) among the 13 entries. Smooth bromegrass had the highest and tall wheatgrass the lowest total NSC concentration, but changes in the fraction of each carbohydrate in total NSC were relatively small among the five species. Averaged across the entries, glucose, fructose, sucrose, fructans, and starch accounted for 14, 10, 15, 38, and 23% of total NSC, respectively. The NSC information from this study can help breeders and producers select appropriate cool-season grass varieties for livestock.

Technical Abstract: Forage nitrogen (N) and nonstructural carbohydrate (NSC) concentrations are important indicators of forage quality, and knowledge of N and NSC variation among grass germplasm is one element to consider in developing a successful forage and livestock management program. An experiment was conducted in 2004 and 2005 at the USDA-ARS, Grazinglands Research Laboratory, El Reno, OK to investigate concentrations of N, neutral detergent fiber (NDF), acid detergent fiber (ADF), glucose, fructose, sucrose, fructans, and starch in 13 perennial cool-season grass entries from five plant species at the heading stage. Entries from tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea L. cv. Carmine, Dovey, Kentucky 31, and Maximize), festulolium (F. arundinacea × L. multiflorum, cv. Felina and Hykor), tall wheatgrass (Elytrigia elongate, cv. Jose), intermediate wheatgrass (Elytrigia intermedia, cv. Luna and Manska), and smooth bromegrass [Bromus inermis, cv. Lincoln and three experimental lines (Lincoln YD, NE B1-2-C0, and NE B1-2-C2) developed at the USDA-ARS, Lincoln, NE] were established in 2000. Year and grass species influenced both forage N and NSC concentrations. Total NSC around heading stage ranged from 70 to 112 g/kg (dry weight basis) among the 13 entries. Smooth bromegrass had the highest and tall wheatgrass the lowest total NSC concentration, but changes in the fraction of each carbohydrate in total NSC were relatively small among the five species. Averaged across the entries, glucose, fructose, sucrose, fructans, and starch accounted for 14, 10, 15, 38, and 23% of total NSC, respectively. The NSC information from this study can help breeders and producers select appropriate cool-season grass varieties for livestock.

Last Modified: 4/23/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page