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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Booneville, Arkansas » Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #333397

Title: Sericea lespedeza leaf meal fed to sheep and goats reduces serum concentrations of trace minerals

item Burke, Joan
item MILLER, JAMES - Louisiana State University
item TERRILL, THOMAS - Fort Valley State University
item ORLIK, SARAH - Louisiana State University
item GARZA, JAVIER - Louisiana State University
item ACHARYA, MOHAN - University Of Arkansas
item Wood, Erin

Submitted to: Sheep and Goat Research Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/2/2023
Publication Date: 5/12/2023
Citation: Burke, J.M., Miller, J., Terrill, T., Orlik, S., Garza, J., Acharya, M., Wood, E.L. 2023. Sericea lespedeza leaf meal fed to sheep and goats reduces serum concentrations of trace minerals. Sheep and Goat Research Journal. 38.

Interpretive Summary: Sericea lespedeza (SL; Lespedeza cuneata) has been used in recent years to aid in the control of gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN) in sheep and goats, but sometimes body weight gains are reduced when SL is fed for several weeks. Scientists at USDA, ARS in Booneville, AR, Louisiana State University, Fort Valley State University, GA, and Auburn University determined that short term SL feeding can have positive effects on weight gain, and SL feeding was associated with changes in minerals, especially a reduction in molybdenum found in the blood. Understanding negative effects that can occur to animal production by using SL for GIN control helps to guide producers in using this product to maximize worm control and production. This information is important to organic and conventional small ruminant producers, extension agents, and scientists.

Technical Abstract: Sericea lespedeza (SL; Lespedeza cuneata) is an important plant in the southeastern U.S. that aids in the control of gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN) and coccidiosis. The legume is rich in condensed tannins consisting of nearly pure prodelphinidin type. Feeding or grazing for several weeks has led to slower growth rates in lambs and kids. It was hypothesized that reduced weight gains were a result of a nutrient deficiency associated with the condensed tannins. The objective was to determine the effects of feeding SL leaf meal pellets on serum concentrations of trace minerals in sheep and goats. Lambs or kids weaned between 86 and 108 days of age (day 0) were supplemented with up to 900 g of a control supplement (CO) or SL leaf meal pellets for 56 to 112 days while grazing grass pastures at the USDA, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Booneville, AR or Louisiana State University (LSU), Baton Rouge, LA in 2011 (lambs only), 2012, and 2013 (kids only). Blood was collected for serum concentrations of trace minerals between days 56 and 112. Peri-parturient ewes were fed CO or SL for 120 to 131 days before and after lambing at ARS and LSU. Data were analyzed using GLM. There were marked changes in trace minerals found in serum between diets among all studies. Molybdenum was always reduced in SL compared with CO fed animals (P < 0.001, all), with as much as a 90-fold reduction. Manganese, zinc, and selenium were nearly always reduced in SL compared with CO fed animals among each study. A reduction in trace mineral status could certainly influence growth rate of lambs and kids, possibly leading to other metabolic issues such as changes in milk production or composition. Feeding SL for parasite control should be limited to approximately eight weeks during the greatest parasite challenges.