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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Range Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #307100

Title: Phenological changes in nutritive value of honey mesquite leaves, pods and flowers

item MAYAGOITIA, PIEDAD - New Mexico State University
item BAILEY, DEREK - New Mexico State University
item Estell, Richard - Rick

Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/2/2013
Publication Date: 2/8/2014
Citation: Mayagoitia, P.E., Bailey, D., Estell, R.E. 2014. Phenological changes in nutritive value of honey mesquite leaves, pods and flowers [abstract]. Society for Range Management, 67th Annual International Meeting, February 8-13, 2014, Orlando, Florida. p. 3-4.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The objective of this study was to examine changes in potential forage value of honey mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) throughout the year. During 2012, samples were obtained at approximately 2 week intervals from April to December in south-central New Mexico. Crude protein content of leaves decreased (P < 0.05) during the year from 25.4 to 10.8%, while acid detergent fiber (ADF) and neutral detergent fiber (NDF) increased (P < 0.05) from 14.8% to 33.9% and 22.4% to 47.0%, respectively. Changes in these nutrients displayed cubic relationships over time with large changes in the spring and autumn and minimal changes in the summer. Crude protein content of pods decreased (P < 0.05) over time from 21.0% to 10.9%, but we did not detect any phenological changes in ADF (range of 19.0 to 34.1%) and NDF levels (range of 27.7 to 49.0%). A sample of mesquite flowers collected in May 2013 was evaluated for nutritive content. Mesquite flowers appear to be high quality forage with a crude protein content of 24.0% and ADF and NDF levels of 16.7 and 31.5%, respectively. We used in vitro gas production as an indicator of secondary compound impacts on forage value. Mesquite samples were mixed with dormant grass (Sporobolus spp.) in a 30:70 ratio. Rumen fluid was obtained from 4 cannulated cows fed beardless wheat hay. Rate of gas production was measured at 4 hour intervals for 48 hours. Rate of gas production of mesquite leaves varied (P < 0.05) among spring and autumn samples with greater initial rates in autumn samples. No phenological changes in rate of gas production were detected (P > 0.10) for mesquite pods. Honey mesquite has the potential to provide livestock forage with relatively high nutritive values from spring through autumn if animals can contend with any associated secondary compounds.