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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Booneville, Arkansas » Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #331193

Research Project: Sustainable Small Farm and Organic Production Systems for Livestock and Agroforestry

Location: Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center

Title: Season progression, ontogenesis and environment affect Lespedeza cuneata herbage condensed tannin, fiber and crude protein content

Author
item Muir, James
item Terrill, Thomas
item Mosjidis, Jorge
item Luginbuhl, Jean-marie
item Miller, James
item Burke, Joan
item Coleman, Samuel

Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/1/2016
Publication Date: 1/19/2017
Citation: Muir, J.P., Terrill, T.H., Mosjidis, J.A., Luginbuhl, J., Miller, J.E., Burke, J.M., Coleman, S.W. 2017. Season progression, ontogenesis and environment affect lespedeza cuneata herbage condensed tannin, fiber and crude protein content. Crop Science. 57:515-524.

Interpretive Summary: Sericea lespedeza is a perennial, warm-season forage legume with wide adaptation, freeze tolerance, establishment ease and persistence under grazing, and has become important as an aid in the control of internal parasites in sheep and goats due to the condensed tannins in the plant. Scientists from Texas A&M AgriLife, Fort Valley State University, Auburn University, North Carolina State University, Louisiana State University, and USDA, Agricultural Research Service - Booneville, AR and El Reno, OK determined that herbage nutritive value and condensed tannin content of sericea lespedeza varies with growing environment and season progression or maturity, and any hay or pellets sold commercially should have nutrients and condensed tannins analyzed to aid with quality control. This information is important to forage growers, feed manufacturers, scientists, small ruminant producers, and extension specialists.

Technical Abstract: Sericea lespedeza [Lespedeza cuneata (Dumont de Courset) G. Don.; SL] is a perennial, warm-season forage legumes with wide adaptation, freeze tolerance, establishment ease and persistence under grazing. Its condensed tannins (CT) could be useful in ruminant systems, not simply as a protein source, but also for methane mitigation, rumen protein bypass, as well as insect pest and gastro-intestinal nematode suppression. Wide variation in CT content may be a limitation, however. Our objective was to determine if growing environment (NC, GA, AL, GA and TX) and season progression over four dates separated by 35 d affected SL CT, crude protein (CP) and fiber content. Established ‘AU Grazer’ SL regrowth and accumulated herbage, in separate trials, was sampled starting late April in 2010. Regrowth CP content ranged (P=0.05) from 127 g kg-1 in NC on Date 3 up to 221 g in AL on Date 1. Sericea lespedeza regrowing in warmer latitudes contained greater (P=0.05) acid detergent fiber (ADF). In regrowth herbage we recorded a wide (P=0.05) total condensed tannin (TCT) range, from 133.5 mg kg in TX on Date 3 to 46.1 in LA on Date 1, reflecting variability in fiber-bound, protein-bound and, especially, extractible CT. Results from accumulated herbage reflected (P=0.05) herbage ontogenesis with less CP and greater fiber content with maturity but showed the same lack of CT content pattern as the regrowth herbage. These results indicate that SL herbage nutritive value and CT content is so variable that any hay or pellets sold commercially should be assayed by environment and crop maturity.