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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Booneville, Arkansas » Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #331195

Title: Harvest regimen changes sericea lespedeza condensed tannin, fiber and protein concentrations

item MUIR, JAMES - Texas A&M Agrilife
item TERRILL, THOMAS - Fort Valley State University
item MOSJIDIS, JORGE - Auburn University
item LUGINBUHL, JEAN-MARIE - North Carolina State University
item MILLER, JAMES - Louisiana State University
item Burke, Joan
item Coleman, Samuel

Submitted to: Grassland Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/28/2017
Publication Date: 4/12/2018
Citation: Muir, J.P., Terrill, T.H., Mosjidis, J.A., Luginbuhl, J., Miller, J.E., Burke, J.M., Coleman, S.W. 2018. Harvest regimen changes sericea lespedeza condensed tannin, fiber and protein concentrations. Grassland Science. 64:137-144.

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, plant stress, and how and when the plant is harvested, which are important factors that can be manipulated to produce hay or pellets with either optimal nutrient value or condensed tannin properties depending on commercial interests. 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 legume that contains condensed tannins (CT) that could play crucial roles in ruminant ecosystems, among them gastro-intestinal nematode suppression, methane suppression, rumen protein bypass, as well as fly larvae suppression in manure. Understanding how harvest regimen and environment interact is therefore crucial to maximizing CT content in hay, pellets or extracts sold specifically for this component. Our objective was to determine how growing environment (NC, GA, AL, GA and TX) and harvest regimen [regrowth from the same 4 plots every 35 d (35-d), clipping previously uncut plots every 35 d (ACCUM), or collecting from the same plants every time the average height reached 40 cm (40-cm)] affected SL CT content as well as other nutritive value indicators average over a season. At all locations, well-established (at least 2 years old) stands of ‘AU Grazer’ SL were sub-divided into 40 4-m2 plots and sampled throughout the 2010 growing season, starting in late April at each location. Data were analyzed using a mixed model and repeated measures. We found environment by harvest regimen interactions (P = 0.05) for all dependent variables. The LA plants, from the warmest most southern location, had the highest (P = 0.05) fiber values, while ACCUM plants usually had higher fiber values where there were differences, except for the LA location. The TX location, also the driest, had among the lowest (P = 0.05) crude protein (CP) content, 114 g kg-1 in the case of ACCUM versus 181 g kg-1 for NC plants in the 35-d regimen. Total CT content varied (P = 0.05) from a low of 61.1 kg-1 for ACCUM plants in LA to 100.7 g kg-1 for TX plants harvest in 35-d plots. Our results indicate that environments, encompassing many edapho-climatic stresses, as well as harvest regimen result in nutrient value and CT content differences in SL. These can be manipulated to produce plant material that is either high in CT or of the greatest nutritive value, depending on what is most desired from SL plants.