Production and Nutritive Value of Florigraze Rhizoma Peanut in a Semiarid Climate
‘Florigraze’ rhizoma peanut (Arachis glabrata Benth.) is a warmseason perennial forage legume that has received considerable research emphasis in Florida. However, little is known about its value outside of Florida. A field experiment was conducted on an established stand of Florigraze at Beeville, TX on a Parrita sandy clay loam (Clayey, mixed, hyperthermic, shallow Petrocalcia Paleustolls). Dry matter (DM) production, crude protein (CP) and in vitro digestible dry matter (IVDDM) of leaf blades and stem components were determined by sampling biweekly from June through January for each of two years. Treatments were total-seasonal accumulated growth compared to regrowth of peanut defoliated in midJuly or late-August. A randomized complete block (RCB) design with three replicates was used, and 900-cm2 areas were hand clipped to ground level for yield determinations. Typical for semiarid climate, rainfall was erratic and its distribution varied between years. Total-seasonal DM accumulation of 8 to 10 Mg ha−1 was recorded each season. Rainfall influenced DM production patterns, percent leaf, stem IVDDM, and leaf and stem crude protein (CP). Rainfall and defoliation treatment had no effect on leaf IVDDM. Leaf IVDDM declined slowly during each year (−0.4 to −0.9 g kg−1 d−1) but exceeded 700 g kg−1 during the entire growing season. Florigraze loses leaves in response to drought stress. Autumn leaf production was unaffected by defoliation treatments. Leaf blade CP concentration was 1.7 to 1.9 times greater than that of stems. Because of leaf loss during late summer, spring and early summer production should be harvested in June or July. Forage production and nutritive value were sufficiently high, even under limited rainfall conditions, to warrant further investigation.
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