Variation in Weed Seed Fate Fed to Different Holstein Cattle Groups
AuthorRahimi, S; Mashhadi, HR; Banadaky, MD; Mesgaran, MB
Source TitlePLoS One
PublisherPUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE
University of Melbourne Author/sMesgaran, Mohsen
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsRahimi, S., Mashhadi, H. R., Banadaky, M. D. & Mesgaran, M. B. (2016). Variation in Weed Seed Fate Fed to Different Holstein Cattle Groups. PLOS ONE, 11 (4), https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0154057.
Access StatusOpen Access
Weed seeds may maintain their viability when passing through the digestive tract of cattle and can be therefore dispersed by animal movement or the application of manure. Whether different cattle types of the same species can cause differential weed seed fate is largely unknown to us particularly under non-grazed systems similar to Holstein-Friesian dairy farming. We investigated the effect on the seed survival of four weed species in the digestive tracts of four groups of Holstein cattle: lactating cows, feedlot male calves, dry cows and growing heifers. The weed species used were Cuscuta campestris, Polygonum aviculare, Rumex crispus and Sorghum halepense. Cattle excretion was sampled for recovery and viability of seeds at four 24 hourly intervals after seed intake. The highest seed recovery occurred two days after seed intake in all cattle groups. Averaged over weed species, dry and lactating cows had the lowest and highest seed recovery of 36.4% and 74.4% respectively. No significant differences were observed in seed recovery of the four weed species when their seeds were fed to dry cows. Based on a power model fitted to seed viability data, the estimated time to 50% viability loss after seed intake, over all cattle groups ranged from 65 h (R. crispus) to 76 h (P. aviculare). Recovered seeds from the dung of feedlot male calves showed the highest mortality among cattle groups. Significant correlation was found between seed viability and ruminal pH (r = 0.86; P<0.05). This study shows that management programs aiming to minimize weed infestation caused by livestock should account for the variation amongst cattle groups in seed persistence. Our findings can be used as a guideline for evaluating the potential risk of the spread of weeds via the application of cattle manure.
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