Warm-Season Forages for Free-Ranging White-Tailed Deer in South Texas

Daniel Justin Kunz, William R. Ocumpaugh, Fred C. Bryant

Abstract


Several warm-season forages were planted in irrigated food plots in 1999 and 2000 on high pH soils in semi-arid south Texas.  Objectives were to test different warm season forages for utility in south Texas food plots based on agronomic and nutritional attributes and deer use.  Nutritional profiles were collected bi-weekly in 1999 and monthly in 2000.  Least squares means and 95% confidence intervals for production, nutritional, and mineral values were calculated.  Variables recorded included biomass, and concentration of crude protein, detergent fiber, tannin, Cu, Zn, Na, Mg, K, Ca, and P.  Lablab (Lablab purpureus (L.) Sweet), cowpeas (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp), and ‘BeeWild’ bundleflower (Desmanthus bicornutus S. Watson) produced the most biomass and the highest crude protein in both years of the study.  Low concentrations of tannins were recorded in the bundleflower.  BeeWild bundleflower was lower in fiber content in both years of the study when compared to the other forages tested.  Every mineral tested met or exceeded established minimum requirements for maintenance in white-tailed deer.  We recommend lablab, Iron & Clay cowpeas, and BeeWild bundleflower for irrigated warm season food plots in south Texas.

Keywords


food plot; white-tailed deer; nutrition; forage

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