Animals spend energy on daily works ie walking, respiration, reproduction, milk production, etc. They need a constant supply of energy which is obtained from range plants during grazing and browsing. In other words, range forage is the only source of vitamins, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates to them or their maintenance. Vitamin D is obtained from sunlight with no effort; Vitamin A is essential for cell formation and blindness, etc; Vitamin C, p,c etc (phosphorus, and calcium) are important for bone building or cellulose formation, pH and enzyme regulation in body fluids.
Proteins are required to build up and repair animal tissues; browse shrubs and forbs are a good source of protein for animals.
Phosphorus and Calcium deficiency leads to poor reproduction. In animals, the ratio of phosphorus and calcium should be 1:1. Chlorine, potassium, and sodium are required for the maintenance of body wt, milk production, and appetite. Their loss or deficiency will in a reduction in wt, appetite and milk production
Vitamin A has multiple roles in body process. It is necessary for the growth of young one, healthy membranes, prevention of night blindness, keep vigor and reproduction. It is obtained from carotene, present in chlorophyll.
Nutritional Value of Range Lands:
Following factors are the measuring gauge for this nutritional value of Range plants:
- Phenology – growth stage or growth season
- Lifeform – shrub, forbs or grasses
- Range Condition
At the early stage of growth, the nutrients are more. The plants are rich in protein etc. While at later stages of growth nutritious feed is reduced. Here the fiber content, cellulose, and lignin are more.
Consequently, at an early stage, plants are much more able to improve the health of animals, hence valuable
The share of shrubs, forbs, and grasses is clearly visible from the graphs. Shrubs contain max amount of protein and phosphorus as compared to forbs and grasses. But in the left graph grasses are providing more and more energy than forbs and shrubs. This is mainly due to the digestibility and palatability
Digestibility and Palatability:
Of the spp, grasses are more digestible while shrubs are least digestible. Similarly grasses are more preferable. The forbs are intermediately palatable.
Of the life forms, if 15% brows spp are present during the winter season, there is no problem of nutrient deficiency. Digestibility is higher at an early stage and lowers at the later growth stage. However, the deficiency can be made by soya-been, Trifolium (shuftal), khall, binaola, etc.
Nutrient content varies with a leaf-stem ratio. In excellent condition, this ratio is maxed leaves comprise a larger amount of nutrients than stems. The animals, by grazing, reduce this ratio. Thus the range goes down ward. In excellent condition, the average air dry wt is more a great deal eg 4000 lbs while in fair condition it is low eg 2000 lbs.
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