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Genetic variability for elements associated with grass tetany in Russian wildrye

Asay, K.H. and Mayland, H.F. (1990) Genetic variability for elements associated with grass tetany in Russian wildrye. Journal of Range Management. 43(5):407-411.


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Grass tetany (hypomagnesemia) may be an important factor limiting productivity of animals grazing Russian wildrye [Psathyrostachys juncea (Fisch.) Nevski]. This malady is associated with relatively low concentrations in the forage of Mg and Ca, and high values for K and K/(Ca+Mg). We studied the genetic variablity in a Russian wildrye breeding population for mineral elements that relate to grass tetany in ruminants. Forty-five progeny lines, established as spaced plants in a randomized complete block, were sampled at the pre-boot and boot stages in each of 2 years and analyzed for Mg, Ca, K, and P. Although seasonal variation was evident, K/(Ca+Mg) of the progeny lines ranged from 3.2 to 4.6, well above the 2.2 level at which a 5% incidence of grass tetany has been found in dairy cattle. With few exceptions, progenies differed for all traits evaluated. Differences among progenies were relatively consistent over harvests for all traits. A reduced tetany potential (RTP) was computed as the sum of normalized Mg and reciprocal of K/(Ca+Mg) values, providing an estimate of the grass tetany risk for individual progeny lines. The variation among progenies, and the magnitude of broad-sense heritability estimates for RTP (0.48) and K/(Ca+Mg) values (0.31), indicate that mineral ion composition of this breeding population can be altered through breeding. The high K/(Ca+Mg) values in the population suggest that it may be helpful to introduce genetic factors conditioning lower grass tetany potential from other sources. Intercharacter correlations suggest that breeding for higher levels of Mg will be accompanied by increased Ca and, to a lesser extent, increased K.

Item Type: Article
NWISRL Publication Number: 0715
Subjects: Irrigated crops > Grass forage > Chemistry
Mass Import - autoclassified (may be erroneous)
Depositing User: Dan Stieneke
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2010 21:53
Last Modified: 03 Jan 2017 17:14
Item ID: 538

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