Main content area

Weeping Lovegrass Yield and Nutritive Value Provides an Alternative to Beef Cattle Feeding in Semiarid Environments of Argentina

Luciani, Gabriela, Sobanski, Manfredo, Meier, Mauro, Polci, Pablo, Miranda, Rubén, Echenique, Viviana
Crop science 2012 v.52 no.4 pp. 1955-1965
Eragrostis curvula, acid detergent fiber, beef cattle, biomass production, breeding, cattle feeding, crude protein, cultivars, digestibility, environmental factors, field experimentation, grasses, hexaploidy, leaves, lignin, neutral detergent fiber, nutritive value, parents, semiarid zones, tetraploidy, Argentina
Weeping lovegrass [ (Schrad.) Nees] supports extensive beef cattle operations in arid and semiarid environments worldwide. This perennial grass is preferred in low production areas of Argentina because it has a high biomass production with minimal management requirements. Therefore, we evaluated yield and nutritional value of seven different cultivars and accessions of weeping lovegrass in a field experiment during two consecutive years (2008/2009 and 2009/2010). Two tetraploid cultivars (Tanganyika and Morpa), three hexaploid cultivars (Don Pablo, Don Juan, and Don Eduardo), and two accessions (UNST9355 and UNST9446) were included in a complete randomized block design. To evaluate yield and nutritional value, dry weight, leaf length, crown diameter, crude protein, in vitro dry matter digestibility (IVDMD), neutral detergent fiber, acid detergent fiber, and lignin were determined. Biomass and IVDMD data indicated that hexaploid cultivars performed better than tetraploid ones under limiting environmental conditions observed throughout the study. Therefore, we concluded that breeding programs could select suitable parents from hexaploid cultivars such as Don Pablo and UNST9446 to be used in arid environments while tetraploid cultivars such as Tanganyika and Morpa could be used in environments with less water restrictions.