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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 68 No. 4, p. 691-692
    Received: Oct 2, 1975

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Evaluation of Protein and Nutritive Fiber Content of Cultivated Russian-Thistle1

  1. David A. Farmer2,
  2. James L. Fowler3 and
  3. James H. Hageman2



Russian-thistle (Salsola sp.), a troublesome weed in the arid and semiarid regions of the United States, has been successfully harvested and used as a forage when cultivated forages were limited or unavailable. Over the years, the few published reports of studies of water use efficiency and nutritive value of Russian-thistle have been sufficiently encouraging to suggest its potential as a forage crop in areas where water resources are limited. Therefore, this study was undertaken to determine the effect of nitrogen fertilization on some of the nutritional qualities of Russian-thistle.

Russian-thistle plants were grown in a greenhouse in 15-liter pots; urea levels corresponding to 0, 28, 56, 84, and 112 kg of N/ha were applied, and all plants were watered uniformly. Under these conditions, no correlations were found between nitrogen application and total crude protein, acid detergent fiber, or acid detergent lignin; nevertheless, average values of 19.8, 34.4, and 6.4 (percent dry weight) were measured for each of these, respectively. In addition, the amino acid composition of the total protein was well balanced nutritionally. Only at the highest nitrogen applications was nitrate observed to approach potentially dangerous levels. Values obtained are comparable to many commonly used forages. Studies to determine the effect of nitrogen and water application on the nutritional qualities of Russian.thistle under field conditions are underway.

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