ISSN 1392-3196 / e-ISSN 2335-8947
Zemdirbyste-Agriculture, vol. 100, No. 4 (2013), p. 349–354
DOI  10.13080/z-a.2013.100.044

The effect of meadow phytocenoses productivity and herbage quality on the energy value of biomass



A high proportion of Lithuania’s meadows are either in poor condition or abandoned (not mowed and not grazed). These changes in meadow use have negative consequences such as increasing area of meadows not being used and landscape turning wild, which inevitably deteriorate their ecological value.

Research was done during 2009–2012 in five habitats, two of which are non-flooded relatively abandoned meadows of undulating relief and three flooded meadows, present in the riverside, central and pre-land parts of the Nemunas delta. The study was aimed to compare the influence of the productivity and quality of the phytocenoses of non-flooded and flooded meadows on the energy value of their biomass. The productivity and energy value of meadow swards depend on the habitat’s ecological conditions, which form different habitations. The average dry matter content of the non-flooded meadows was 4.19 t ha-1 and that of flooded meadows 6.03 t ha-1 (31% higher). The quality of biomass formed in different habitats was similar. Dry matter contained 6.69–9.75% crude protein, 23.81–25.56% crude fibre, 1.70–2.29% crude fat, 4.98–5.98% crude ash, 44.40–47.20% organic carbon (Corg), 1.26–1.44% total nitrogen (Ntotal), and 0.12–0.16% sulphur. The swards of the non-flooded meadows accumulated slightly higher contents of potassium (on average 1.66%), while those of flooded meadows accumulated higher concentrations of calcium (on average 0.70%). The net calorific value of grasses of different meadows varied from 16.63 to 16.88 MJ kg-1 and energy potential from 60.73 to 143.8 GJ ha-1. The energy potential of the sward of the flooded meadow, present in the central part of the Nemunas delta was significantly higher (143.8 GJ), it accumulated 1.8–2.4 and 1.6–2.2 times more energy compared with non-flooded or other flooded meadows. The energy input for the preparation and transportation of herbage from the meadows under investigation totalled 2.8 GJ ha-1. The highest content of useful energy (141.03 GJ ha-1) was obtained from the flooded meadow, present in the central part of the Nemunas delta. Other meadows demonstrated similar final energy contents: meadows in the riverside of the Nemunas delta – 89.01 GJ ha-1, non-flooded meadows, present in the lower terrain of undulating relief – 77.56 GJ ha-1, meadows of the pre-land Nemunas delta – 62.88 GJ ha-1, non-flooded meadows, present in the upper terrain of undulating relief – 57.93 GJ ha-1.

Key words: ecological conditions, energy value, meadow phytocenoses, productivity, sward quality.

Full text: 100_4_str44.pdf