Location: Forage and Range ResearchTitle: Forage nutritive value of stock-piled cicer milkvetch for late-season grazing
Submitted to: Crop, Forage & Turfgrass Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/9/2022
Publication Date: 4/4/2022
Citation: Peel, M., Waldron, B.L. 2022. Forage nutritive value of stock-piled cicer milkvetch for late-season grazing. Crop, Forage & Turfgrass Management. 8(1). Article e20155. https://doi.org/10.1002/cft2.20155.
Interpretive Summary: Many livestock operations rely on grazing during the fall and winter months when forage nutritional values are low in the grasses found on these grazing lands. The non-bloating forage legume cicer milkvetch was tested for forage nutritive value parameters of crude protein and neutral detergent fiber monthly from September through December. The crude protein content of cicer milkvetch remained high during the test periods and was equal to alfalfa and was much higher than crested wheatgrass. Furthermore, cicer milkvetch NDF was more favorable than both alfalfa and crested wheatgrass. The high CP and superior NDF of cicer milkvetch indicate it has unrealized potential for improving forage nutritive value of grazing lands, particularly in the late fall to early winter.
Technical Abstract: Achieving high forage production combined with adequate forage nutritive value on Intermountain Western US grazing lands during the fall and early winter can be difficult. Crude protein (CP) and neutral detergent fiber (NDF) of cicer milkvetch (Astragalus cicer L.) was characterized relative to alfalfa (Medicago sativa L), and crested wheatgrass [Agropyron cristatum (L.) Gaertn.]. Forage was harvested monthly September-December from season long stockpiled growth (full-season), stockpiled regrowth following a June defoliation (mid-season), and stockpiled regrowth following an August defoliation (late-season). Crude protein of cicer milkvetch ranged from 11.9 to 9.2 %, 20.5 to 14.3 %, and 24.6 to 15.9 %, in the full-, mid-, and late-season stockpiled strategies, respectively. Overall, cicer milkvetch CP was equal to alfalfa CP and 5.7 percentage points greater than crested wheatgrass CP across all harvest dates of the three stockpiling scenarios. Furthermore, cicer milkvetch NDF was less (more favorable) than both alfalfa and crested wheatgrass, ranging from 46.4 to 59.6%, 23.0 to 37.4 %, and 26.2 to 33.7 %, in the full-, mid-, and late-season stockpiled strategies, respectively. The high CP and superior NDF of cicer milkvetch indicate it has unrealized potential for improving forage nutritive value of grazing lands, particularly in the late fall to early winter.