Magnesium, Nitrogen Form, and Root Temperature Effects on Grass Tetany Potential of Wheat Forage
Grass tetany, a Mg deficiency syndrome, is a disorder of ruminants grazing grass or cereal forages under certain environmental conditions. A solution culture experiment was conducted to gain a clearer understanding of the nutritional and environmental factors affecting Mg concentrations in winter wheat (Triticum uestivum L.) forage. Effects of N form (NH4/NO3 in mM—l0:0, 5:5, or 0:l0), root-zone temperature (RZT) (10,15, or 20 °C), and Mg supply (0.4 or 4 mM) on growth and mineral composition of winter wheat forage were investigated. Shoot and root yields were highest for the mixed-N form, and increased linearly with increasing RZT. Increasing the Mg supply significantly increased Mg concentrations, and decreased Ca concentrations, in both shoots and roots. Concentrations of K and Ca, and estimates of total organic acids significantly increased with increasing proportion of NO3. There was no significant effect of N form on shoot Mg concentrations at the high Mg level. However, at the low Mg level, increasing the proportion of NO3 sipificantly decreased shoot Mg concentrations, producing a forage more likely to cause grass tetany. Ratios of Mg accumulated in shoots to Mg in whole plants were negatively correlated with K concentrations in roots. Correlations with K concentrations in shoots were much lower. Apparently, increasing the K concentration in roots depressed the rate of net Mg translocation from roots to shoots. When Mg in the root zone is low and K is high, increasing the proportion of NO3 may decrease shoot Mg concentration and thus increase the likelihood of hypomagnesemia.
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