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Crop Science Abstract - Forage & Grazinglands

Millwood and Wild-Type Honeylocust Seedpod Nutritive Value Changes Over Winter


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 52 No. 6, p. 2807-2816
    Received: Oct 10, 2011
    Published: October 10, 2012

    * Corresponding author(s): jfike@vt.edu
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  1. Jacob W. Johnsona,
  2. John H. Fike *a,
  3. Wonae B. Fikea,
  4. James A. Burgerb,
  5. John F. Munsellb,
  6. James R. McKennaa and
  7. Steven C. Hodgesa
  1. a Dep. of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061
    b Dep. Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061


Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos L.) seedpods have potential as a feed supplement within silvopasture systems but may degrade after dropping to the ground. Seedpods from representative ‘Millwood’ (MW) and wild-type (WT) honeylocust trees were exposed to ambient conditions during fall and winter. At monthly intervals (November to March), seedpods were retrieved, dried, and fractionated into seed and husk components for nutritional characterization. For both tree types, husk nutritive value changes were small the first winter. Patterns of decreased sugars and in vitro true digestibility (IVTD) and increased fibers and lignin were stronger the second year, likely due to greater precipitation. Despite greater sugars and IVTD and lower fibers, MW husks displayed greater resistance to degradation; from November 2009 to March 2010, IVTD decreased 79 and 160 g kg−1 for MW and WT husks, respectively. Husk and seed crude protein (CP) levels changed little over winter. Seeds, protected by hard seed coats, were largely resistant to degradation; ground seeds were nearly fivefold more digestible than whole seeds. Changes in most husk mineral concentrations as well as the relative differences between husk (tree) types were variable and inconsistent. Nutritive value of MW and WT honeylocust seedpods declined appreciably when exposed to wet ground. Producers feeding pods within pastures during wet winters should do so within a couple months after pod drop to minimize nutrient losses.

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Copyright © 2012. Copyright © by the Crop Science Society of America, Inc.