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Research Project: Bridging Project: Integrated Forage Systems for Food and Energy Production in the Southern Great Plains

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Title: Mothbean: A potential summer crop for the Southern Great Plains

item BAATH, GURJINDER - Oklahoma State University
item Northup, Brian
item Gowda, Prasanna
item Turner, Kenneth - Ken
item ROCATELI, ALEXANDRE - Oklahoma State University

Submitted to: American Journal of Plant Sciences
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/8/2018
Publication Date: 6/11/2018
Citation: Baath, G.S., Northup, B.K., Gowda, P., Turner, K.E., Rocateli, A.S. 2018. Mothbean: A potential summer crop for the Southern Great Plains. American Journal of Plant Sciences. 9(7):1391-1402.

Interpretive Summary: Winter wheat and perennial warm-season grasses are the primary forage resources for grazing in the U.S. southern Great Plains (SGP). However, low forage quality of perennial grasses during summer is a limiting factor for maintaining high rates of growth by yearling stocker cattle. Alternate forage sources with the ability to fill this late-summer quality gap need to be explored to improve the effectiveness of forage-stocker systems in the SGP. In this study, we examined the capacity of 10 lines of moth bean from different areas of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen to grow in the central region of the SGP. We measured their grain and forage yields, and defined different measures of quality that defined the value of moth bean as forage or a green manure. The tested lines generated from 6.5 to 16.2 tons forage/acre by 100 days after planting. The forage contained: 10.8-14.6% crude protein (CP); 32.0-41.7% neutral detergent fiber (NDF); 20.7-29.6% acid detergent fiber (ADF); and 73-84% in vitro true digestibility (IVTD) at maturity. This study provides a base-line for the quality moth bean forage, which was not available within the existing literature. Tested lines of moth bean also producing grain yields of 90 to 930 lb/acre. The study also showed moth bean may have value as a green manure, due to its low, vining growth form that completely covered the soil, and large amounts of N in growth (145-282 lb. N/acre). Future research should focus on evaluating how capable moth bean is as green manure or summer forage in support of crop and livestock systems used in the SGP.

Technical Abstract: Low quality of available warm-season grasses during July through September limits the production of yearling stocker cattle in the southern Great Plains (SGP). There has been a continual exploration of species with the capacity to provide high quality forage during summer. Moth bean (Vigna aconitifolia [Jacq.] Marechal), a short-duration, drought tolerant crop is a promising choice for the SGP. This preliminary study evaluated the potential of moth bean as a summer crop for forage, grain or green manure. Results of this study with 10 moth bean lines from a range of geographic locations suggested that crop could be harvested 100 days after planting with dry biomass yield range of 7.3-18.1 Mg ha-1. Moth bean forage contained 10.8-14.6% crude protein (CP), 32.0-41.7% neutral detergent fiber (NDF), 20.7-29.6% acid detergent fiber (ADF), and 73-84% in vitro true digestibility (IVTD) at maturity. Grain yield of the 10 moth bean lines varied from 91 to 1040 kg ha-1. The 10 tested lines generated a high amount of nitrogen (N) rich biomass at maturity with total accumulated N of 163-316 kg ha-1 and a C:N ratio of 16:1 to 22:1. Overall, performance indicators suggested that moth bean has considerable potential as an alternative crop for production of forage, grain, or green manure when grown as summer crop in rotation with winter wheat. Moth bean could also prove helpful in enhancing agro-ecosystem diversity and sustainability of forage-stocker production systems in the SGP.