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Digestibility protein content and nutrient yields of alfalfa stressed by selected early season insect pests and diseases



Digestibility protein content and nutrient yields of alfalfa stressed by selected early season insect pests and diseases



Journal of Economic Entomology 80(1): 257-262



A field study to examine effects of three early season alfalfa pests on forage nutrient quality and nutrient yield was conducted from 1981 to 1983. Eight treatments with all possible combinations of clover root curculio (CRC), Sitona hispidulus (F.), alfalfa weevil (AW). Hypera postica (Gyllenhal); and soil-borne root-rot fungi (FU) were replicated in field plots. CRC larval feeding reduced first-harvest percentage crude protein content by .ltoreq. 1.07%. Also, crude protein (CP) values were decreased in second and third harvests, in response to earlier CRC presence. AW and FU presence had minimal adverse impact on protein levels. In the first harvest, in vitro digestibility was reduced by AW larval feeding from 63.74 to 61.39%; the other two pests had no significant effects. Pest stresses significantly reduced yields of CP and in vitro digestible dry matter. These losses resulted from reductions of dry-matter yields but were intensified by losses of nutrient content. An economic analysis showed that pest stresses reduced herbage value per metric ton based on nutrient content alone, by $5.00 and $2.63 in 1982 and 1983, respectively. Economic value per hectare, a combination of nutrient value and dry-matter reductions, showed losses of $187.53 in 1982 and $169.20 in 1983 from pest stresses.

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Accession: 005161423

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DOI: 10.1093/jee/80.1.257



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