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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Date and Plant Community Affects on Elk Sedge Forage Quality

Author
item Clark, Patrick

Submitted to: Journal of Range Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 24, 2002
Publication Date: January 20, 2003
Citation: Clark, Patrick E., Date and plant community effects on elk sedge forage quality., Journal of Range Management 2003, v.56, p. 21-26

Interpretive Summary: Elk sedge is one of the most important livestock and big game forages in northeastern Oregon and many other areas of the West. It is one of the most prominent forage species in the diets of cattle and elk utilizing forested rangelands. Despite its acknowledged ecological and economical importance, very little is known about the factors influencing the forage quality of elk sedge. Effects of season and plant community and their interaction on the crude protein, neutral detergent fiber, and acid detergent fiber levels of elk sedge are reported for samples collected at Starkey Experimental Forest and Range and Bridge Creek Wildlife Management Area, both in northeastern Oregon, during 1997 and 1998. Levels of neutral detergent fiber in elk sedge were lowest in October ( =71.3%) and highest in July ( =76.1%) Acid detergent fiber was lowest in elk sedge collected in October ( =37.3%) and highest that collected in January ( =39.2%). Elk sedge from the Douglas-fir/ninebark community was lowest in acid detergent fiber ( =38.1%). Crude protein in July elk sedge samples was highest ( =8.0%) and January samples were lowest ( =5.7%). Elk sedge from the ponderosa pine/fescue community was lowest in crude protein ( =5.9%). All forage quality parameters exhibited variability between years. Although seasonal and plant community effects were detected, the forage quality of elk sedge appeared relatively stable compared to other native forages. A more intensive spring sampling campaign may have captured even greater seasonal variability in elk sedge forage quality.

Technical Abstract: Elk sedge is one of the most important livestock and big game forages in northeastern Oregon and many other areas of the West. It is one of the most prominent forage species in the diets of cattle and elk utilizing forested rangelands. Despite its acknowledged ecological and economical importance, very little is known about the factors influencing the forage quality of elk sedge. Effects of season and plant community and their interaction on the crude protein, neutral detergent fiber, and acid detergent fiber levels of elk sedge are reported for samples collected at Starkey Experimental Forest and Range and Bridge Creek Wildlife Management Area, both in northeastern Oregon, during 1997 and 1998. Levels of neutral detergent fiber in elk sedge were lowest in October ( =71.3%) and highest in July ( =76.1%) Acid detergent fiber was lowest in elk sedge collected in October ( =37.3%) and highest that collected in January ( =39.2%). Elk sedge from the Douglas-fir/ninebark community was lowest in acid detergent fiber ( =38.1%). Crude protein in July elk sedge samples was highest ( =8.0%) and January samples were lowest ( =5.7%). Elk sedge from the ponderosa pine/fescue community was lowest in crude protein ( =5.9%). All forage quality parameters exhibited variability between years. Although seasonal and plant community effects were detected, the forage quality of elk sedge appeared relatively stable compared to other native forages. A more intensive spring sampling campaign may have captured even greater seasonal variability in elk sedge forage quality.

Last Modified: 12/19/2014
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