University of California

The effect of leaching on the nutritive value of forage plants


H. R. Guilbebt
S. W. Mead
H. C. Jackson

Authors Affiliations

H. R. Guilbebt was Assistant Animal Husbandman in the Experiment Station; S. W. Mead was Associate Animal Husbandman in the Experiment Station; H. C. Jackson was Cooperative Agent, Bureau of Animal Industry, United States Department of Agriculture.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 6(1):13-26. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v06n01p013. May 1931.

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A significant decrease in digestibility of bur clover after exposure to sunlight and rain has been reported in the first paper and evidence was presented which indicated that the greater part of the decrease could be accounted for by the loss of soluble constituents through the action of rain. Field observations support these findings.

After late rains on cured range feed, cattle have been observed to cease gaining and to require supplemental feeding in order to fatten sufficiently to be marketable. Under such conditions it is difficult, in many cases, even to maintain breeding stock. This situation prevailed over a large area of California in 1929. Extensive supplemental feeding was required in many areas to fatten the cattle for beef, and stock cattle, generally, suffered from the poor feed. Among the abnormal conditions reported in cattle from some areas were pica, particularly bone craving, deformed calves, difficult parturition, and retained placenta. Many ewes which apparently were unable to lactate abandoned their lambs. The indications are that these troubles were directly associated with the poor quality of the feed.

Rain followed by warm, humid weather is favorable to the development of molds. Frequently, however, the feed dries quickly with little or no molding; and yet deterioration has occurred, as evidenced by the condition of livestock. Field observations therefore indicate that the leaching effect of rain may be the most important factor in the loss of nutritive value.

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Guilbebt H, Mead S, Jackson H. 1931. The effect of leaching on the nutritive value of forage plants. Hilgardia 6(1):13-26. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v06n01p013
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