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Title: A Preliminary Investigation into Forage Quality Attributes of Several Native Eastern Savanna Species

item Foster, Joyce
item Turner, Kenneth

Submitted to: Eastern Native Grass Symposium
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/30/2008
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Introduction: Nutritive attributes of traditional forages are well documented, and benefits of forage condensed tannins (CT) for ruminants have been the subject of numerous investigations. The number of tanniferous forage species that are adapted to humid, temperate climates is limited, and the role such plants play in controlling gastrointestinal parasites, such as barberpole worm (Haemonchus contortus) in sheep and goats, underlies recent heightened interest in non-traditional plant species that are both nutritious and anthelmintic. This investigation was undertaken to determine forage quality attributes and condensed tannin levels in Eastern savanna ecotypes of native plant species. Materials and Methods: Random grab samples of green tissue, representing leaf tissue, were collected in late summer of 2007 from plots of the following six plant species grown at the Appalachian Plant Materials Center: Indian woodoats [Chasmanthium latifolium (Michx.)Yates]; slender lespedeza [Lespedeza virginica (L.) Britton]; roundhead lespedeza (Lespedeza capitata Michx.); black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta L.); Illinois bundleflower [Desmanthus illinoensis (Michx.) MacMill.ex B.L. Rob. & Fernald]; and American senna [Senna hebecarpa (Fernald) Irwin & Barneby]. Samples were air dried, ground to pass a 0.5-mm screen, and analyzed for dry matter, ash, total N, neutral detergent fiber, acid detergent fiber, in vitro organic matter disappearance (IVOMD), and extractable CT. Results and Discussion: On a dry weight basis, crude protein (CP) values (calculated as 6.25 x total N%) ranged from a low of 7.86% for C. latifolium tissue to a high of 28.22% for S. hebecarpa tissue, while IVOMD values for these species were 43.71% and 75.52%, respectively. The CP values for L. virginica, L. capitata, D. illinoensis, and R. hirta were 17.29%, 9.11%, 31.02%, and 15.05%; while IVOMD values were 11.21%, 9.11%, 31.02%, and 64.22%, respectively. Levels of extractable CT, expressed as mg of quebracho tannin equivalents/g dry tissue, were: R. hirta, 38; S. hebecarpa, 63; D. illinoensis, 429; L. capitata, 1597; and L. virginica, 1944. The CP and IVOMD values for these six species indicate that all are potentially valuable livestock forages. The CT data suggest that the Lespedeza species and D. illinoensis may have value as bioactive forages to help control gastrointestinal parasites in sheep and goats. This was a preliminary study. Changes in nutritive value parameters of these plants over the growing season need to be determined. In addition, palatability by ruminants, such as sheep and goats, of all of these plant species needs to be investigated.