The University of Arizona

Water, nitrogen and ploidy effects on Russian wildrye mineral concentrations.

J.F. Karn, A.B. Frank, J.D. Berdahl, W.W. Poland

Abstract


High quality forage for spring and autumn grazing can be obtained from Russian wildrye [Psathyrostachys juncea (Fisch.) Nevski], a cool-season bunchgrass. However, little is known about mineral concentrations critical to livestock production, especially in the relatively new tetraploid plants. A knowledge of plant mineral concentrations and how they can be manipulated to more nearly meet animal requirements is necessary to optimize animal production. A study was undertaken to determine the extent that concentrations of critical minerals in leaf and stem tissue of Russian wildrye were affected by ploidy level, growing-season water (50 and 150% of average), and N fertilizer (10 and 134 kg N ha-1). Plants were sampled at vegetative, boot, anthesis, and anthesis plus 10-day stages of maturity in 1994, 1995, and 1996. Ploidy level resulted in small but significant differences in some mineral concentrations, with diploid plants usually having higher levels. An exception was P in stem tissue. This finding indicates that in breeding and selection for other traits, forage quality was not adversely affected. Growing-season water level also had minimal effects on mineral concentrations, except for P which was enhanced (P < 0.05) by greater amounts of soil water. Fertilizer N increased forage levels of Ca, K, Cu, and Zn, and decreased levels of P. Higher concentrations of K are not desirable, because they increase the possibility of a grass tetany problem. Advancing plant maturity caused a decrease in P and Zn concentrations, but Ca and Mg in leaf tissue increased as plants matured. These results suggest that concentrations of P, Ca, Mg, and Cu were marginal for high producing cattle at some stages of maturity, but we found the effects of nitrogen and growing-season water did not result in leaf and stem mineral concentration changes that would adversely affect the safety and nutritive quality of Russian wildrye.

DOI:10.2458/azu_jrm_v56i5_karn


Keywords


plant development;diploidy;harvest date;Psathyrostachys juncea;mineral content;tetraploidy;forage quality;nitrogen fertilizers;application rate;range management;introduced plants;soil water;chemical constituents of plants

Full Text:

PDF