Influence of mineral composition and rumen degradability of Atriplex nummularia (Hatfield Select F1) plants on selection preference of sheep

  • WA van Niekerk
  • Abubeker Hassen
  • LD Snyman
  • NFG Rethman
  • RJ Coertze

Abstract

This study examined intraspecific variation in mineral composition and rumen degradability of Atriplex nummularia plants and the influence on selection preferences of sheep. Individual plants  were categorised into high, medium and least preference groups by assessing the order in which they were selected by sheep. Nine plants were selected from each group and the regrowth of these plants was analysed for neutral detergent fibre (NDF), crude protein (CP), mineral composition and rumen degradability of dry  matter. The data was subjected to one-way and multivariate analyses of variance. Highly preferred plants had a higher concentration of CP,  phosphorous (P) and magnesium (Mg) in their edible forage compared to the medium or least preferred plants. Individual preferences of sheep were not, however, associated with the rumen degradability parameters. Principal component analysis revealed that highly preferred plants had lower NDF, manganese (Mn) and zinc (Zn), and higher CP, calcium, P, Mg and potassium values compared to the least preferred plants. In contrast, medium preferred plants exhibited inconsistent patterns, with a tendency to have higher sodium chloride and sodium, and lower Mn, Zn and copper, concentrations in the forage.

African Journal of Range & Forage Science 2009, 26(2): 91–96

Author Biographies

WA van Niekerk
Department of Animal and Wildlife Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa
Abubeker Hassen
Department of Animal and Wildlife Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa
LD Snyman
Department of Animal and Wildlife Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa
NFG Rethman
Department of Plant Production and Soil Science, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa
RJ Coertze
Department of Animal and Wildlife Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa
Section
Articles

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 1727-9380
print ISSN: 1022-0119