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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Mineral Concentrations in Plants Grown on Five Soils of the Upper Snake River Plain

item Shewmaker, Glenn
item Mayland, Henry

Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: February 14, 1993
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Plants growing on the extensive sagebrush-grass ranges of the Intermountain area are relied upon for spring-fall herbage by both livestock and big-game animals. Spring growth is quite nutritious, but a subsequent decline in herbage quality is recognized. However, the change in mineral levels has not been described. This study documents mineral composition of grasses, forbs, and shrubs. As plants matured, dry matter concentrations and Ca:P values increased and those of N and other elements decreased. Plant concentrations of N, P, Zn and Mg were sufficiently low to possibly limit grazing-animal performances. These low levels were not reflected in soil-test-levels used to indicate adequacy for crop production. Nitrogen, but not P or K fertilization increased both yields and N concentration. Following fire, grasses made up 55% of the total herbage without N fertilizer, and this increased to 90% as rates increased to 500 kg N ha-1. Thus, N fertilization could be used to alter the composition of this plant community.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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