Nevada Dividends!

Quantifying Nutritional Values of Alternative Forages Found in Nevada


Issue:

Nutritional management affects beef cattle growth, reproductive performance, and health. In order to feed animals to meet their nutritional needs it is critical to know the nutritional value of plants. Information on the nutritional value of some specific plant species found in the state of Nevada such as kochia, cheatgrass, coyote willow, crested wheatgrass, meadow brome, and Great Basin wild rye are mostly inexistent in the scientific literature. The goal of this project was to characterize the nutritional value of plants commonly found in the state of Nevada that may have potential as feed for beef cattle.

What has been done?

Two concurrent projects were conducted to clarify National Animal Nutrition Programs’ Nutritional Requirements (2000) nutrient values of Forage Kochia in the Great Basin. Using both plastic cow stomachs (dual-flow continuous culture systems) in the lab and cannulated cattle in the field, NAES scientists evaluated the nutritional value of a common perennial shrub Forage Kochia. Samples were analyzed to determine dry matter, organic matter, neutral detergent fiber, acid detergent fiber, ether extract, ash, fatty acids, and bacterial purines.

Impact:

The alternative forage for range cattle (Forage Kochia) has been shown to function equally in eight key nutrient values as alfalfa and orchard grass. Also, crude protein levels are equal to or greater (winter season) than most available grasses found on the range. Forage kochia has proven to be an adapted, highly palatable forage species for livestock and wildlife. It is competitive with cheatgrass and much more fire resistant. With all things considered, forage kochia deserves greater use when seeding Nevada rangelands, especially localized areas in which conventional forages may not grow well.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Antonio Faciola

Department of Agriculture, Nutrition and Veterinary Sciences

1664 N. Virginia Street

Reno, Nevada   89557

 

Phone: (775) 784-6139

Email: afaciola@cabnr.unr.edu

Personal Web Site: http://www.cabnr.unr.edu/faciola/