The University of Arizona

Potential forage species for deer in the southern mixed prairie.

S.H. Schweitzer, F.C. Bryant, D.B. Wester

Abstract


Improving wildlife habitat through the introduction of nutritious forage species is a management tool that may be used to increase target populations such as deer. By increasing deer numbers the potential of leasing hunting rights on private land is improved. Our objectives were to evaluate and compare establishment and production of 2 browse species and to determine the production and nutritional quality among 6 forb species in range-land conditions. Browse species were littleleaf lead-tree (Leucaena retusa Gray) and four-wing saltbush (Atriplex canescens (Pursh) Nutt.). Forb species were 'Cody' alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), 'Renumex' sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia Scop.), 'Howard' subterranean clover (Trifolium subterraneum L.), 'Nungarin' subterranean (T. subterraneum L.), 'Eldorado' Englemann daisy (Engelmannia pinnatifida Nutt.), 'Sabine' Illinois bundleflower (Desmanthus illinoensis (Michx.) MacM.), and 'Plateau' awnless bush sunflower (Simsia calva (Engelm. & Gray) Gray). Establishment for littleleaf lead-tree was 21%. Successful four-wing saltbush plants produced a greater volume (m3) of plant material than littleleaf lead-tree. Littleleaf lead-tree leaf material contained crude protein (CP) values from 11.6 to 16.9%. Of the cool-season forbs, alfalfa, and sainfoin produced the most above-ground phytomass at 23.6 and 22.6 g/m of planted row, respectively. The subclovers produced intermediate amounts of phytomass while Engelmann daisy produced negligible amounts at phytomass of 4.2 g/m of planted row. Warm-season forages, awnless bush sunflower, and Illinois bundleflower produced an average of 115.1 and 120.2 g/m of planted row, respectively. Seasonal CP means were greatest for alfalfa (16.5%) and awnless bush sunflower (16.1%). Our results suggest that littleleaf lead-tree, awnless bush sunflower, and Illinois bundleflower would supply adequate supplemental forage from summer to fall; subterranean clovers, alfalfa, and sainfoin would provide forage from winter through spring. Four-wing saltbush could provide forage year-round.

Keywords


Onobrychis viciifolia;leucaena refusa;engelmannia pinnatifida;Leucaena;Asteraceae;Trifolium subterraneum;Medicago sativa;Desmanthus illinoensis;browse plants;protein content;Desmanthus;Atriplex canescens;crude protein;biomass production;Odocoileus;Texas;wildlife management;prairies;rangelands;nutritive value;forage;chemical constituents of plants

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