Agroscope, Institute for Plant Production Sciences IPS, 1260 Nyon, Switzerland

Nutritive value of forage plants in alpine pastures

The nutritive value of 30 plant species in alpine pastures was determined. Samples were collected at the beginning of the alpine season and three to four weeks later at two different sites. On the first sampling date the net energy content for lactation of the species was between 4.7 and 6.8 MJ/kg dry matter (DM). Between the two sampling dates the energy content of grass species decreased at a faster rate than that of legumes and herbs. On the second sampling date the energy content ranged from 3.7 to 6.5 MJ/kg DM. Compared with grass species, legumes and herbs showed a lower content of cell walls but a higher content of crude protein, as well as four times the content of calcium and twice the content of magnesium. Therefore the botanical composition of a alpine pasture has a significant influence on the nutritive value of the forage.

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