• Analysis of Russian thistle (Salsola species) selections for factors affecting forage nutritional value

      Hageman, J. H.; Fowler, J. L.; Suzukida, M.; Salas, V.; Lecaptain, R. (Society for Range Management, 1988-03-01)
      The need for forage plants that are productive in, and adapted to, semiarid conditions prompted us to examine the range and independence of assortment of nutritional qualities of wild stands of Russian thistle (Salsola species). Seventy selections from a 5-state area of the southwestern United States were planted in observational plots and analyzed for crude protein, acid detergent fiber, lignin, nitrate, water-soluble oxalate, in vitro digestibility, and ash content at 2 stages of maturity. Values on a dry matter basis of crude protein (5.4 to 22.3%), acid detergent fiber (20.1 to 48.8%), acid detergent lignin (3.1 to 10.4%), nitrate (0.1 to 5.1%), water-soluble oxalate (0.2 to 9.1%), plant height (40 to 180 cm at second harvest), stage of development (midbloom to complete seed development at second harvest), and degree of prickliness (soft to extremely prickly at second harvest) were determined for each of the 70 selections at 2 harvest times. The color, branch density, and degree of leafiness were examined at the second harvest only. Values for in vitro digestibility (45.1 to 66.3% organic matter disappearance) and ash (12.7 to 30.5% of dry wt) were determined for a subset of 22 samples. About 10% of the selections had a composite of properties which would suggest they they would make moderate to good forages.
    • Salinity effects on forage quality of Russian thistle

      Fowler, J. L.; Hageman, J. H.; Moore, K. J.; Suzukida, M.; Assadian, H.; Valenzuela, M. (Society for Range Management, 1992-11-01)
      Russian thistle (Salsola iberica Sennen and Pau), a common weed found on overgrazed rangelands, abandoned farmlands, and other disturbed sites in the western United States, is often grazed by livestock and in times of drought has been extensively harvested for hay. Much of the land where Russian thistle grows in the western United States has a salinity hazard. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of salinity stress on forage quality of Russian thistle. Russian thistle plants were grown in a greenhouse in sand culture irrigated with salinized nutrient solutions (electrical conductivities of 1.3, 10.6, 19.5, 26.8, and 33.9 dS/m) prepared with NaCl and CaCl2 (2:1 molar ratio). Chemical indices of forage quality (total N, neutral detergent fiber, acid detergent fiber, acid detergent lignin, nitrate, and oxalates) at 2 growth stages (early flower and full flower) were determined. Forage quality of Russian thistle, as measured by total N and fiber constituents, improved with increasing salinity. Mineral ash content increased with salinity stress at both growth stages but was reduced slightly by increasing maturity. Nitrate levels increased at early flower but decreased at full flower with increasing salinity, whereas oxalate-levels at both growth stages were reduced by salinity. Neither component was of sufficient magnitude to be toxic to ruminants. These results indicate that salinity stress is not detrimental to forage quality of Russian thistle but tends to improve it.