Browsing Journal of Range Management, Volume 56, Number 5 (September 2003) by Subjects
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Effects of aeration on phenolic amine content of guajilloAeration is a common range management technique used in southern Texas and northern Mexico to reduce shrub cover and increase biomass of more palatable forages. Guajillo (Acacia berlandieri Benth.) is an important forage plant for deer and domestic livestock throughout its range in northeastern Mexico and southern Texas. It responds to top removal, such as by aeration, by producing large numbers of juvenile sprouts which can have higher total leaf nitrogen content up to 6 months after treatment. However, the concentration of phenolic amines, potentially toxic secondary plant chemicals, may also increase. We compared concentrations of tyramine and N-methyl-phenethylamine (NMP), 2 prominent phenolic amines that can negatively affect reproduction in herbivores, between juvenile (regrowth) and mature stems of guajillo in areas that had been aerated and also between mature stems in aerated and control sites. Aeration increased NMP but not tyramine concentrations in mature stems. Juvenile stems had higher total nitrogen concentration than mature stems but also had higher amine concentrations until about 1 year after aeration. A greater percent of total nitrogen was incorporated into amines in juvenile stems (2.5-6.0%) than mature stems (1.8-4.2%). Amine concentrations peaked in summer and early autumn, a period when herbivores may rely heavily on browse because forbs are scarce. Our results suggest that while aeration may result in higher nitrogen concentrations in guajillo, increases in amines may limit benefits to herbivores.
Research observation: Hydrolyzable and condensed tannins in plants of northwest Spain forestsTannins are secondary metabolites that may influence feeding by mammals on plants. We analyzed hydrolyzable and condensed tannins in 30 plant species consumed by livestock and deer, as a preliminary attempt to study their possible implications on browsing and grazing in forest ecosystems. Heathers (Ericaceae) and plants of the Rose (Rosaceae) family had tannins, while forbs, grasses and shrubs other than the heathers did not show astringency properties. We found the highest tannin content of all the species in Rubus sp., with the highest value around 180 mg TAE/g dry weight in spring. Potentilla erecta, Alnus glutinosa and Quercus robur were next with 57 to 44 mg TAE/g dw. Total tannins in heathers ranged from 22 to 36 mg TAE/g dw. Levels of condensed tannins were higher than hydrolyzable for most of the species. Only Betula alba, Calluna vulgaris, Pteridium aquilinum and Vaccinium myrtillus had 100% hydrolyzable tannins. Tannin content of the species changed seasonally with highest values during the growing season, corresponding to late winter or early spring, depending on the species.
Spatial and temporal patterns of cattle feces deposition on rangelandThe objective of this study was to identify and model environmental and management factors associated with cattle feces deposition patterns across annual rangeland watersheds in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Daily cattle fecal load accumulation rates were calculated from seasonal fecal loads measured biannually on 40 m2 permanent transects distributed across a 150.5 ha pasture in Madera County, Calif. during the 4 year period from 1995 through 1998. Associations between daily fecal load per season, livestock management, and environmental factors measured for each transect were determined using a linear mixed effects model. Cattle feces distribution patterns were significantly associated with location of livestock attractants, slope percentage, slope aspect, hydrologic position, and season. Transects located in livestock concentration areas experienced a significantly higher daily fecal load compared to transects outside of these concentration areas (P < 0.001). Percent slope was negatively associated with daily fecal load, but this association had a significant interaction with slope aspect (P = 0.02). Daily fecal load was significantly lower during the wet season compared to the dry season (P = 0.002). Daily fecal loading rates across hydrologic positions were dependent upon season. Our results illustrate the opportunities to reduce the risk of water quality contamination by strategic placement of cattle attractants, and provide a means to predict cattle feces deposition based upon inherent watershed characteristics and management factors.
Water, nitrogen and ploidy effects on Russian wildrye mineral concentrationsHigh 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.