Perryman, B. L., Shenkoru, T., Bruce, L. B., Hussein, H. S 2011, Age and growing season nutritional value relationships of three Artemisia tridentata subspecies Perryman, B. L., Shenkoru, T., Bruce, L. B., Hussein, H. S. 2011, Rangeland Ecology and Management, Rangeland Ecology and Management

Basin wildrye (Elymus cinereus Scribn. & Merr.) is common in the Intermountain West and produces a large amount of forage. Because of elevated growing points, it is almost never grazed in spring or early summer to avoid intercalary meristem damage during the stem elongation stage. However, when cutting bars of mechanical harvesters are adjusted to cut above the growing points, the issue is avoided. This project assessed windrowed wildrye for nutritional value dynamics over time and for standing crop response to prescribed fire. Great Basin wildrye on the University of Nevada–Reno Gund Ranch was sampled in 2005 and 2008–2009 for nutritional analysis on the first of June, and then a portion of the basin wildrye was windrowed. On the first of each succeeding month, July–October in the first year and July–February in the second year, both standing and windrowed basin wildrye were sampled and analyzed. Dry matter was greater in standing forage until October when it became greater in windrows. Crude protein was consistently greater in the windrow, and rapidly decreased in the standing crop. The ADF content was consistently lower in the windrow. Phosphorus was lower in the windrow in July, maintained that level, becoming greater in subsequent months than in standing forage in 2005. The NDF/ADF ratio was consistently greater in the windrow. Neutral detergent fiber, manganese, and sodium showed no difference between standing crop and windrow. Magnesium and calcium decreased in the windrow compared with standing crop. Potassium, zinc, iron, and copper were greater in the windrow. Standing crop production was 5 to 6 times greater in the burned area in both sample years (2005 and 2009). In prescribed burn areas, standing crop yields were increased over nonburned areas, and windrowed basin wildrye provided greater nutritional quality over time than standing basin wildrye forage.

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