Skip to main content
ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #165680


item Halvorson, Jonathan
item Cassida, Kimberly
item Turner, Kenneth - Ken

Submitted to: American Forage and Grassland Council Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/1/2004
Publication Date: 6/12/2004
Citation: Halvorson, J.J., Cassida, K.A., Turner, K.E. 2004. Nutritive quality of bamboo browse for livestock. Proceedings of the American Forage and Grassland Council Conference. 13:417.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: If able to survive Appalachian conditions, temperate bamboo may be a useful source of forage and other products that diversify small-farm income opportunities and improve ecosystem integrity. We established plantings of several species of cold-hardy temperate bamboo, including one species native to West Virginia to determine its ability to withstand hill-land Appalachian conditions and provide forage for goats. We collected clones from plantings of non-native cold-hardy species including Phyllostachys aureosulcata P. bambusoides, P. bissetii, P. dulcis, P. flexuosa, P. mannii, P. nuda, P. rubromarginata, P. vivax and Semiarundinaria fastuosa from the USDA-ARS temperate bamboo germplasm center at Byron, GA in 2001 or from commercial nurseries in 2002 and collected specimens of native bamboo, Arundinaria gigantea from several locations in West Virginia in 2002. Clones were propagated in a greenhouse and then planted out and maintained at three field locations (two in Bragg, WV, and one in Alderson, WV). Almost all of the species of bamboo persist at each location after 3 growing seasons surviving air temperatures of less than -18 degrees C and soil temperatures (at 5 cm depth) below -1 degrees C. Most bamboos retained some green leaf in sheltered areas near the base of the plants even in late-winter. Leaves were collected in April, July, and Sept. 2003, and in Feb. 2004 and analyzed for crude protein (CP) and fiber constituents and total Carbon and Nitrogen. The July sampling represented the youngest leaves. Data were analyzed using a mixed model with field location as a random block effect and date as a repeated measure. Date effects comprised the largest component of the variance for CP, acid detergent fiber (ADF), cellulose, acid detergent lignin (ADL), and acid insoluble ash (AIA), while species had greater impact on variance of total ash and carbon. Small differences among species were found for all composition measures except CP. Changes in composition across dates were similar for all species (species x date interaction not significantly different, P > 0.05). Concentrations of cell wall components were lowest for new leaves in July (30.1, 23.7, 4.4, and 2.0%, for ADF, cellulose, ADL, and AIA, respectively) and highest for over-wintered leaves in April (38.4, 28.2, 6.3, and 4.3%), with relatively little change between September and February. Concentrations of ADF (P < 0.08) and AIA (P < 0.05) increased linearly with age of leaf, consistent with the increase in cell wall concentration observed in forages as leaves age or mature. Maturity and age had a less pronounced effect on leaf CP. Across species, CP concentration was lower in September than on other dates (15.9, 14.4, 15.4, and 15.5% for July, Sept., Feb., and Apr., respectively), but mean CP for each species and sampling date was sufficient to meet maintenance needs of browsing sheep or goats. Nutritive quality of bamboo leaves was similar to that of other browses, and bamboo retained quality well through the winter, suggesting bamboo may have potential as a winter feed in central Appalachia.