Protein and Carbohydrate Fractions in Warm-Season Pastures: Effects of Nitrogen Management Strategies Academic Article uri icon


  • Nitrogen (N) management affects herbage production and chemical composition; however, information on the impact of tropical herbage on N and carbohydrate fractions is scarce. A two-year study was conducted to investigate the potential use of pintoi peanut (Arachis pintoi) compared with N fertilization of palisade grass (Brachiariabrizantha cv. Marandu) by evaluating the herbage chemical composition (fractionation of protein and carbohydrate), herbage mass and accumulation rate, herbage disappearance rate, and stocking rate of pastures. The experiment was conducted in a completely randomized design with three treatments, and four replications (paddocks) were used with twenty-one non-lactating crossbred dairy heifers. Treatments consisted of pastures of palisade grass without a N source (control), fertilized with urea (150 kg/ha/year; fertilized), or mixed with pintoi peanut (mixed). Inclusion of the legume increased concentrations of fractions A (p = 0.009), which is the soluble N compound, and B3 (p < 0.001), which is slowly degraded true protein, compared with pastures fertilized with N and non-fertilized pastures. Nitrogen fertilization increased fraction B1 + B2 (p = 0.046), mainly true proteins, and decreased fraction C (p = 0.0007), indigestible protein, and neutral detergent fiber concentrations (p = 0.0003), contributing to increasing the nutritive value of the herbage. Additionally, N fertilization increased herbage mass (p = 0.004) and herbage allowance (p = 0.0001). Both N fertilization and biologically fixed N increased herbage allowance (p = 0.02) and accumulation rate (p = 0.02), as well as the crude protein content of herbage (p < 0.0001) compared with non-fertilized pastures. Nitrogen fertilization increased true protein and decreased indigestible protein of herbage and promoted a greater herbage mass production, while the inclusion of legumes increased soluble protein and decreased the slowly degraded true protein of herbage. Both N management strategies increased herbage allowance and accumulation rate.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Berca, A. S., Cardoso, A., Longhini, V. Z., Tedeschi, L. O., Boddey, R. M., Reis, R. A., & Ruggieri, A. C.

citation count

  • 4

publication date

  • April 2021