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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Range Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #258756

Title: Manipulating sheep browsing levels on coyote willow (Salix exigua) with supplements

Author
item Lujan, A - New Mexico State University
item Utsumi, S - New Mexico State University
item Smallidge, S - New Mexico State University
item Baker, T - New Mexico State University
item Estell, Richard - Rick
item Cibils, A - New Mexico State University
item Ivey, S - New Mexico State University

Submitted to: Sheep and Goat Research Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/16/2010
Publication Date: 9/20/2010
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/58388
Citation: Lujan, A.L., Utsumi, S.A., Smallidge, S.T., Baker, T.T., Estell, R.E., Cibils, A.F., Ivey, S.L. 2010. Manipulating sheep browsing levels on coyote willow (Salix exigua) with supplements. Sheep and Goat Research Journal. 25:32-38.

Interpretive Summary: Nutrient supplements and additives have been used to increase or decrease intake of tannin-containing browse species by livestock. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of four supplements on coyote willow intake by sheep during the dormant and growing seasons. Twelve lambs were fed supplements predicted to either lower (whole corn or quebracho tannin) or increase (cottonseed meal or polyethylene glycol, PEG) willow intake. Cottonseed meal promoted intake of willow in the dormant season, but none of the other treatments affected willow intake compared to control diets without supplements. None of the treatments affected willow consumption in the growing season. Protein supplementation may have potential for manipulating browsing of coyote willow by sheep.

Technical Abstract: Macronutrients and additives have been used to suppress or promote intake of upland tannin-containing browse species by livestock, but to our knowledge this technique has not been applied to sheep that feed on tannin-containing species in riparian areas. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of four supplement regimes on coyote willow (Salix exigua) intake by sheep during the dormant and growing seasons. Twelve Western White Face lambs (48 ± 4.5 kg) were placed in individual pens and assigned to one of four treatments which consisted of a basal diet of sudangrass and supplements predicted to either suppress (whole corn or quebracho tannin) or promote (cottonseed meal or polyethylene glycol, PEG) willow intake. Each of the four supplements was tested with dormant and growing willow in a Latin rectangle design with 3 periods and 6 lambs per group. Basal diet (sudangrass) intake was affected by neither promoter nor suppressor treatments in either season. Cottonseed meal effectively promoted intake of willow compared to the control and PEG treatments (P< 0.05) in the dormant season. No difference was detected between the control, quebracho tannin, and whole corn treatments, although the latter tended to depress dormant willow intake of lambs. None of the treatments altered intake of coyote willow in the growing season trials. Protein and possibly corn-based supplements may be effective tools to manipulate sheep browsing levels of Salix exigua but need to be tested in a field setting before management strategies with supplementation can be applied.