Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/12/2003
Publication Date: 1/24/2004
Citation: Hess, B.W., Nayigihugu, V., Mortenson, M.C., Schuman, G.E. 2004. In vitro digestion of alfalfa and native forages collected from rangeland interseeded with yellow-flowering alfalfa. Proceedings of the Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts. p. 144.
Technical Abstract: Interseeding alfalfa into rangelands is practiced as a method of range improvement to increase quality of forage available to livestock. Our objective was to compare in vitro digestion of alfalfa, perennial forbs, C3 grasses, and other prominent native forages collected from a mixed-grass prairie interseeded with yellow-flowering alfalfa (Medicago sativa ssp. falcata). Forage samples were clipped in mid-July 2001 from four 40 m transects that had been interseeded in 1965, 1987, and 1998. In vitro dry matter and protein disappearance were determined after 4, 8, 12, 16, 24, 48, and 96 h of incubation. Alfalfa and perennial forbs collected from the 1965 site had comparable (P > 0.05) dry matter disappearance (4 through 96 h) and dry matter disappearance was greater (P < 0.05) than C3 and other grasses except for the forbs at 48 h. For the 1987 and 1998 sites, dry matter disappearance (except at 48 and 96 h) ranked (P < 0.05) perennial forbs>alfalfa>C3 grasses and other forages. Alfalfa collected from the 1965 site had the greatest (P < 0.05) in vitro disappearance of protein. In vitro disappearance of protein of alfalfa was greater (P < 0.05) than C3 grasses and other prominent native forages but not different (P > 0.05) than that of perennial forbs collected from the 1987 and 1998 sites. An increase in the quality of available forage will be realized when interseeding yellow-flowering alfalfa (Medicago sativa ssp. falcata) into rangelands because of the greater quality of forage contributed by the alfalfa plants.