Forage Quality of Calligonum comosum in Three Phenological Growth Stages (Case study: Kashan Rangelands, Iran)

Document Type: Research and Full Length Article

Author

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Natural Resources and Earth Science, University of Kashan, Kashan, Iran

Abstract

Determination of forage quality of plant species in natural habitats such as rangelands and deserts is one of the most important factors for grazing management of these ecosystems. For this purpose, the nutritional values of Calligonum comosum in three phenological stages (vegetative growth, flowering, and seedling) were determined in desert habitats located in the northeast of Kashan, Iran (in 2017). Plant samples were collected from five plants as a replication in each phenological stage and the forage quality indices including Crude Protein (CP), Acid Detergent Fiber (ADF), Crude Fiber (CF), Dry Matter Digestibility (DMD), Total Energy (TE) and Metabolic Energy (ME) were determined. The results of ANOVA showed a significant effect of phenological stages on CP and TE (P<0.01) and DMD and ME (P<0.05). Higher and lower values of CP, DMD, TE and ME were obtained in vegetative growth and seed maturity stages, respectively. For these traits, there were no differences between flowering and vegetative growth stages. In contrast, higher and lower values for ADF were obtained in seed maturity and vegetative growth stage, respectively.  It was concluded that the Calligonum comosum had higher quality in flowering and vegetative growth stages than that for seed maturity stage. Therefore, the flowering stage was considered as the best stage for grazing of this plant species.

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