The Mineral Content Of Prairie Grasses Within A Five Mile Radius Of Prairie View College

H. M. Middleton, Prairie View State Normal and Industrial College


Of all the plants of the earth, the grasses are of the greatest use to the human race. To the grasses belong tie cereals, sugar cane, sorghum, and the bamboos; and, since they furnish the bulk of forage for domestic animals, the grasses are also the basis of animal industry. The grasses furnish the principal breadstuffs of the world and a large part of the food for domestic animals. In Texas, the dominant grass over many of the prairies is curly mesquite (Hilaria Belangeri) (6), a dod-former, similar to Buffalo grass and Bermuda.

It is of interest to consider briefly the calcium and phosphorus contents of various species of herbage in relation to mineral requirements of grazing animals. Archibald and Bennett (12) concluded after a review of the literature, that 0.15$ of phosphorus in the herbage is the lower limit of safety, below which point the deficiency may seriously lower the value of the pasture for grazing purposes.

Henderson and Weakley (12) found that for growing dairy animals rations which contain less than 0,35$ of calcium or less than 0,20$ phosphorus gave rise to a bone which is low in ash and consequently low in calcium and phosphorus. Various factors, not the least of which is the use of fertilizers, affect the mineral content of pasture grasses. The physical condition of the soil and soil moisture during the growing period are important factors in increasing or retarding the intake of calcium and phosphorus from the soil. The nitrogen content and the ash content are also affected, nitrogen falling to a minimum and ash rising to a maximum as water increases. This is attributed by some chemists (7) to the washing away of the soil nitrates.