PROTEIN CONTENT VARIATION IN GRASS OF SPONTANEOUS VETCH AND SWEET PEA SPECIES
Legumes, as a source of proteins and energy, are one of the major plants used for food and forage since olden times. Range of Lathyrus (sweet peas) and Vicia (vetches) species grow in natural meadows of Lithuania. Due to their current economic value and potential for future utilization, Vicia and Lathyrus genus had a high priority for organic ruminant farm forage development.
The grass protein content, studies of spontaneous perennial Vicia and Lathyrus species were carried out. Fife Vicia genus (V. cracca, V. sepium, V. villosa, V. amngustifolia, V. hirsuta) and three species of the Lathyrus genus species (L. pratensis, L. sylvestris, L. palustris,) were studied in collection of university Experimental station of Lithuanian University of Agriculture, Middle Lithuania, on soil – clay loam on sandy light loam Calc(ar)i-Endohypogleyic Luvisol(LVg-n-w-cc). The evaluation of grass protein content was based on testing of the individual plant grass mass ant parts like foliage, stems and flowers. The crude protein analysis was carried out using the Kjeldahl method.
The protein content in dry matter of grass varied between species and investigated plant parts. The lowest volume of protein was in stems of investigated species and the highest one – in blossoms. The protein content of the blossoms of the tested species ranged from 32.1 % up to 40.5 %, the protein content in foliage ranged from 21.4 % to 29.6 %. The largest portion in the tested species grass mass consisted of leaves (on average 50.8 %). The total foliage protein content of the tested vetch species was on average 25.62 %, and a little less in the sweet pea species – on average 23.13 %. V. sepium and L. sylvestris were characterized by the highest protein content in the grass. L. pratensis and V. cracca were described by the lowest volume of protein. The relationship between the tested parameters and the location of geographical origin was not found during the experimental period.