Nitrogen fertilization and burning effects on rumen protein degradation and nutritive value of native grasses

Greg J. Cuomo, Bruce E. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Nitrogen fertilization and burning can affect crude protein (CP) concentration of warm-season grasses. While total CP concentration in these forages may limit animal performance, the amount of protein degraded in the rumen may be equally important. A 2-yr study was undertaken to determine the effect of N fertilization and burning on protein degradation and quality components of three warm-season grasses. Monocultures of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii Vitman), and indiangrass [Sorghastrum nutans (L) Nash] were either burned in mid-April or left unburned. One half of each burn treatment was either fertilized with 66 kg ha-1 of N or not fertilized. Plots were harvested in mid-June and again in mid-July of 1990 and 1991. Crude protein, rumen degradable protein (RDP), in situ organic matter disappearance, neutral-detergent fiber (NDF), acid- detergent fiber (ADF), and acid-detergent lignin (ADL) were determined. Nitrogen fertilization increased (P < 0.01) CP concentration 18%. Sixty- five percent of the additional CP associated with N fertilization was RDP. The percentage of CP that was RDP was greater in switchgrass and indiangrass than big bluestem in both years. Even though burning increased early-season CP concentration 7%, it did not affect the RDP percentage. Increased CP levels, particularly RDP, indicate that rumen undegradable protein (RUP) would be a more appropriate supplement with N fertilized switchgrass and indiangrass, while supplementation with RDP would be more appropriate with big bluestem and forages from burned sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)439-442
Number of pages4
JournalAgronomy Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Nitrogen fertilization and burning effects on rumen protein degradation and nutritive value of native grasses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this