Nutritional Quality and White-tailed Deer Use of Warm-season Forages

We evaluated standing crop, nutritional quality, and use of 3 legumes planted to provide forage during summer, which is a nutritional stress period for white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in southern Texas. Average standing crop of lablab (Lablab purpureus) from 861 to 2,250 kg/ha exceeded (P ≤ 0.05) that of soybeans (Glycine max) and cowpeas (Vigna sinsensis). Phosphorus (P) of lablab and cowpeas exceeded (P ≤ 0.05) soybeans. Lablab crude protein was not different from cowpeas and soybean crude protein, but soybean was greater (P ≤ 0.05) than cowpea in 1990. In 1991, lablab and cowpea leaf crude protein was greater (P ≤ 0.05) than soybean during August and October. Percent use of cowpeas and soybeans exceeded (P ≤ 0.05) percent use of lablab in 1990. In 1991, lablab percent use was similar to that of cowpeas and soybeans during July-September and greater (P ≤ 0.05) than cowpeas in November. Soybean percent use exceeded (P ≤ 0.05) that of both other species in October, when only a few scattered soybean plants remained alive. The productivity and drought tolerance of lablab make it a desirable plant for summer food plots in southern Texas.

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