Responses of legumes and grasses to non-, moderate, and dense shade in Missouri, USA. II. Forage quality and its species-level plasticity
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From a series of shade tolerance screening trials conducted in an outdoor Shade Tolerance Screening Laboratory, 22 forages (16 grasses and 6 legumes) were selected for quality evaluation. The forages were grown under non-shade (100% of full sun, the control), moderate shade (45%), and dense shade (20%) with adequate water and nutrients and free of competition from other plants. All 22 forages had equal or higher percent crude protein (%CP) and CP yield (g pot-1) under moderate shade than in the control. Under dense shade, 22 and 18 forages had equal or higher %CP and CP yield than in the control, respectively. Under moderate and dense shade, 14 and 15 forages, respectively, maintained relative feed value (RFV) equal to that in the control. Legumes had higher %CP and RFV than grasses with no differences for CP yield. Relative distance plasticity index (RDPI), an indicator of a species' adaptability to different environments, suggested grasses maintained RFV better than legumes under shade, while legumes were more resilient under shade in maintaining %CP than grasses. Our results suggest most grass and legume forages will maintain or have improved quality when grown in agroforestry practices with light to moderate shade compared to forages grown in open pastures.
Pang, Kejia; Van Sambeek, J.W.; Navarrete-Tindall, Nadia E.; Lin, Chung-Ho; Jose, Shibu; Garrett, H.E. 2017. Responses of legumes and grasses to non-, moderate, and dense shade in Missouri, USA. II. Forage quality and its species-level plasticity. Agroforestry Systems. 14 p. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10457-017-0068-7