Environmental Influences on Yield and In Vitro True Digestibility of Warm-Season Perennial Grasses and the Relationships to Fiber Components1
- M. S. Henderson and
- D. L. Robinson2
In recent years climatic fluctuations have been increasingly associated with seasonal variation in yield and quality of forage crops. Although considerable information is available concerning environmental influences on yield and quality of many temperate and tropical grasses, very little is known about these relationships in the major grasses grown in the southern U.S.A. The objectives of this study were to determine the relative influences of temperature (T) and photon flux density (L) on dry matter yield (DMY) and in vitro true digestibility (IVD) of four warm-season perennial grasses grown at two soil moisture levels and to relate the differences in IVD to fiber component concentrations. Coastal and common hermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.], Pensacola hahiagrass (Paspalurn notatum Flugge), and dallisgrass (P. dilatatum Poir.) were grown in an artificial growth medium at 4 dayhight temperatures (35/24, 32/21, 29/18, 26/15 C), four photon Aux densities (1,050, 840, 630, 420 µEm−2 sec−1 PAR) and two soil moisture levels in growth cabinets. After 14 and 21 days regrowth, DMY and IVD were measured. Regression equations were developed to predict DMY and IVD as functions of T and L at each soil moisture level and regrowth period.
The study clearly showed that DMY of all grasses increased with increasing T and L. The imposed moisture stress sharply reduced DMY of dallisgrass (DAL) hut not of the other grasses. In all grasses IVD consistently decreased as T increased, resulting in maximum IVD at the lowest T. The effect of L on IVD ranged from positive to negative, depending on the grass and T. Maximum IVD values occurred at the high soil moisture (HM) level after 14 days regrowth. At the HM level maximum IVD of Coastal bermudagrass (COA), common hermudagrass (COM), and Pensacolabahia grass (BAH), respectively, was 5.7, 4.9, and 3.6 percentage units higher after 14 than after 21 days regrowth. In DAL at the HM level and in all grasses at the low soil moisture level, these differences due to age were only about one percentage unit or less. The Paspalum spp. averaged about seven percentage units higher in IVD than the Cynodon spp. Significant (P ≤ 0.01) negative correlations were obtained between IVD and previously reported concentrations of acid detergent fiber (ADF), cellulose, permaganate lignin (LIG), and silica in all grasses and concentrations of neutral-detergent fiber in COA and COM. Although correlation coefficients were ≤ 0.50, hemicellulose concentration and IVD were positively correlated in all grasses. Strongest correlations were obtained between IVD and concentrations of ADF and LIG.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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