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Publication Type J
Authors Bustan, A., D. Pasternak, I. Pirogova, M. Durikov, T. T. Devries, S. El-Meccawi and A. A. Degen
Title Evaluation of saltgrass as a fodder crop for livestock
Source Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Author Keywords saltgrass; Distichlis spicata; accessions; fodder; leafiness; digestible organic matter; metabolizable energy yield; saline metabolizable energy content; distichlis-spicata; salt-marsh; salinity; digestibility; disturbance; tolerance; habitat; sheep
Abstract Farmland salinization due to unsustainable agricultural practices has become a worldwide problem. Salt-resistant forage crops, introduced at the primary stages of land reclamation, can provide fodder for livestock, thus adding economic benefit to the process. Saltgrass (Distichlis spicata), a wild halophytic grass species distributed in salt marshes in America, is occasionally grazed by livestock and wild animals. In attempts to domesticate this species, we evaluated and ranked the fodder potential of groups of accessions from several sites in North and South America. Ash content never exceeded 110g kg(-1), even when plants were grown with salty water. Crude protein content was variable and averaged 116g kg(-1) of DM. Mean yield of metabolizable energy was 6.30 and 5.61 kJ g(-1) DM for sheep and goats, respectively. Organic matter digestibility (in vitro) was higher in sheep than in goats (506 g kg(-1) and 478 g kg(-1), respectively) for all saltgrass accessions. Differences in quality parameters were usually larger within than among groups of accession when sorted according to country of origin or ecosystem. Accessions from the South Atlantic coast of North America and from South America were superior in several parameters. South Atlantic coast accessions were relatively vigorous and were productive under saline conditions, as indicated by their relative growth rate (RGR) in small-scale experiments. Six outstanding saltgrass accessions were chosen for further examination. The results of the present study indicate that saltgrass holds considerable promise for selection and suggest that efforts should continue to identify and characterize additional saltgrass ecotypes. (c) 2005 Society of Chemical Industry.
Author Address Ben Gurion Univ Negev, Wyler Dept Dryland Agr, Jacob Blaustein Inst Desert Res, IL-84105 Beer Sheva, Israel. Ben Gurion Univ Negev, Inst Appl Res, Inst Agr & Appl Biol, IL-84105 Beer Sheva, Israel. Natl Inst Deserts Flora & Fauna, Minist Nat Protect, Ashkhabad 744000, Turkmenistan. Degen, AA, Ben Gurion Univ Negev, Wyler Dept Dryland Agr, Jacob Blaustein Inst Desert Res, IL-84105 Beer Sheva, Israel. degen@bgumail.bgu.ac.il
29-Character Source Abbreviation J. Sci. Food Agric.
Publication Date Sep
Year Published 2005
Volume 85
Issue 12
Beginning Page 2077-2084
Unique Article Identifier ISI:000231633800018
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