Nutritional characteristics of a naturalized narrowleaf trefoil (Lotus tenuís WaId et Kit) pasture. II. Variation in the quality of the plants with time

Delia Echeverría D.1 Claudio Wernli K.2 y Fernando Cosio G.3

This variation, with ihe advance in maturity, was studied collecting samples (plants, leaves, stems) every 14 days, over a growth cycle of 208 days, starting on January 17. L. tenuis showed high levels of crude protein (average 21.1%, D.M. basis), that did not change significantly with maturity, in contrast with the decline found in other forage legumes. Digestibility of DM. and DM. reeched mean values of 72.0 and 66,5%, respectively, with a decline following a quadratic tendency (lowest values at approximately 120 days of growth); thereafter showing an increase lowards the end of the growth cycle, in which the participation of regrowth acquired importance. CeIl wall content ranged between 28 and 42%, with no significant change in time, in spite of the significant increase found forthe fraction that included leaves, flowers, snaps, and seeds. Lignin content increased from 8 to 12%, throughout the growth cycle, in the whole plant and leaves, but not in stems, where it did not change. Ca and P in plants did not vary significantly with time. L. tenuis appears to be a highly nutritive forage legume, characterized by a lower increase in fiber content and a lower decrease in digestibility with the advance of maturity, compared with other forage legumes. This high quality is associated with a good annual D.M. yield (approximately 11 Ton D.M./ ha; Aliaga, 1980).

1 Esmeralda 90, Los Andes, Chile.
2 Estación Experimental La Platina (INIA), Casilla 439, Correo 3, Santiago, Chile.
3 Universidad Católica de Valparaiso, Casilla 4, QuiIlota ,Chile.