• Does ruminal retention time affect leafy spurge seed of varying maturity?

      Olson, B. E.; Wallander, R. T. (Society for Range Management, 2002-01-01)
      Grazers ingest seeds of invasive forbs and may contribute to their spread by depositing viable seeds in uninfested areas. Some mature seed pass through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract of ruminants, but grazers consume flowerheads of invasive species from anthesis to dehiscence. We collected seed from the Eurasian leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula L.) at 3 stages of maturity (soft dough, hard dough, mature). With seed collected from these different stages, our objectives were to determine effects of 1) rate of passage through the GI tract of sheep on leafy spurge seed recovery, germinability and viability, 2) residence time in sheep rumen on seed germinability and viability, and 3) acid pepsin digestion, simulating the lower GI tract, on seed germinability and viability after different residence times in the rumen. More seed from the later stages of maturity were recovered in the manure. The greatest number of seed recovered only represented 3.9% of the number of ingested seed. Few seeds were recovered after day 4. Soft dough seed in manure would not germinate and was not viable, whereas hard dough and mature seed collected from manure during the first 4 day were viable. Pepsin had a slight effect on the number of mature seed recovered, but eliminated viability of recovered seed. Viability of non-pepsin treated seed from the hard dough and mature stages declined with greater residence time in the rumen. Thus, managers should be aware that livestock ingesting hard dough as well as mature seed may be dispersing viable weed seed.
    • Drought and grazing: IV. Blue grama and western wheatgrass

      Eneboe, E. J.; Sowell, B. F.; Heitschmidt, R. K.; Karl, M. G.; Haferkamp, M. R. (Society for Range Management, 2002-01-01)
      An understanding of the impacts of grazing during and following drought on rangeland ecosystems is critical for developing effective drought management strategies. This study was designed to examine the effects of drought and grazing on blue grama [Bouteloua gracilis (H.B.K) Lag. ex Griffiths] and western wheatgrass [Pascopyrum smithii Rydb. (Love)] tiller growth dynamics. Research was conducted from 1993 to 1996 at the Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory located near Miles City, Mont. An automated rainout shelter was used during 1994 to impose a severe late spring to early fall (May to October) drought on 6 of twelve, 5- x 10-m non-weighing lysimeters. Twice replicated grazing treatments were: 1) grazed both the year of (1994) and the year after (1995) drought; 2) grazed the year of and rested the year after drought; and 3) no grazing either year. Drought had minimal impact on tiller relative growth rates of plants grazed twice, although it reduced (P less than or equal to 0.01) rates of axillary tiller emergence for blue grama (79%) and western wheatgrass (91%), respectively. Defoliation periodically increased relative growth rates (P less than or equal to 0.05) and tiller emergence (P less than or equal to 0.01) of both species. Neither drought nor grazing affected tiller densities or tiller replacement rates of either species nor did they affect productivity of blue grama. Drought, however, reduced (P less than or equal to 0.01) productivity of western wheatgrass 50% in 1994 whereas grazing reduced productivity (P less than or equal to 0.01) by 46% in 1994 and 69% in 1995. Moderate stocking levels (40-50% utilization) during and after drought did not adversely affect the sustainability of these dominant native grasses.