Identification of potential copper and molybdenum livestock nutrition problems with forage analysis Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/0z7090872

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  • Copper deficiency and Mo-induced Cu deficiency are nutrition problems of ruminant livestock in the Burns and Klamath Falls area of Oregon. Chemical analysis of plant and soil samples was used to survey Cu and Mo levels in forage in these areas. The objectives were to assess the possibility of animal nutrition problems and to study the relationship between forage levels of Cu and Mo and plant species, stage of plant maturity, time of growing season, management factors, and soil characteristics. A total of approximately 400 plant samples was collected during the 1972 grazing season. The samples from Burns were taken from an alfalfa maturity experiment, improved pastures, native meadows, and a forage nursery. The legumes sampled were alfalfa (Medicago sativa), Ladino clover (Trifolium repens), and sainfoin (Onobrychis viciaefolia). Grasses sampled were Fawn tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea), Manchar brome (Bromus inermis), Greenar and Oahe intermediate wheatgrass (Agropyron intermedium), wildrye (Elymus triticoides), Rush (Juncus sp.), and Sedge (Carex sp.). The Klamath samples were from an Alta tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea)-quack-grass (Agropyron repens) comparison and from 13 sites on a variety of pastures throughout the area. In addition to alfalfa, clover, sedge, rush, Alta fescue and quackgrass, the species sampled were Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis), orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata), and meadow foxtail (Alopecuris pratensis). Most of the sites were clipped periodically to simulate grazing and were sampled at two week intervals from May through August. Plant analysis was valuable for indicating the type of livestock nutrition problem encountered in a particular area. The Burns forage contained high levels of Mo and a Mo-induced Cu deficiency is probable. The survey in the Klamath area identified two sites on muck soils with potentially toxic Mo levels. Several sites had such low Cu levels that uncomplicated Cu deficiency may be a problem in livestock. A wide range of values was encountered and forage analysis would be valuable for identifying problems on a local basis. Large differences were found in Cu and Mo levels between plant species. Legumes contained much higher levels of Cu and Mo than did grasses. Changes in maturity, or clipping interval, had different effects on Cu and Mo content for grasses and legumes. Alfalfa was found to decrease in Cu and Mo content with increased maturity. However, legumes in pastures maintained relatively constant levels through the grazing season. Many grasses were found to decrease markedly in Cu levels, and some to increase in Mo levels as the season progressed. This may result in a reduction in the Cu/Mo ratio through the season. Forage analysis was shown to be a valuable technique for identifying potential Cu and Mo livestock nutrition problems and for investigating environmental and management factors which may regulate Cu and Mo levels in forage plants.
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