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

      Karn, J. F.; Frank, A. B.; Berdahl, J. D.; Poland, W. W. (Society for Range Management, 2003-09-01)
      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.
    • Wyoming big sagebrush seed production from mined and unmined rangelands

      Booth, D. T.; Bai, Y.; Roos, E. E. (Society for Range Management, 2003-09-01)
      Wyoming Coal Rules and Regulations require shrubs be returned to mined land and that revegetation "...be self renewing." We evaluated seed production and seed quality of Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt. ssp. wyomingensis (Beetle Young)) by measuring the effect of mining, herbivory, and environmental modification on seed production at 5 sites on the Dave Johnston Coal Mine near Glenrock, Wyo. Mined-land stands ranged in age from 5 to >20 years. Single sagebrush plants on mined, and adjacent unmined land were treated by: (1) fabric mulch around the base, (2) windbreak on the north and west, (3) both mulch and windbreak, and (4) neither windbreak nor mulch. Plants were fenced and compared with unfenced, untreated, neighboring plants. Seeds were harvested for 3 years and data were collected on seed-stalk numbers, bulk weight of seeds produced, and seed quality. Fenced mined-land plants produced several times more seeds than fenced plants on adjacent unmined land. There was no difference in seed quality. Treatments to modify the plant environment resulted in some benefits but fencing had a greater effect on seed-quality parameters than did planned treatments. We conclude the sagebrush seed-production potential on reclaimed lands such as those of the Dave Johnston Coal Mine is equal to, and often several times greater than that of adjacent unmined lands. However, browsing by wild ungulates can eliminate the mined-land yield advantage.