I. MOUNTOUSIS1, K. PAPANIKOLAOU2, F. CHATZITHEODORIDIS1, Ch. ROUKOS2 and A. PAPAZAFIRIOU2
1 Department of Animal Production, Faculty of Agriculture, T.E.I., Terma Kontopoulou, 53100 Florina, Greece*
2 Department of Animal Production, Faculty of Agriculture, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54006 Thessaloniki, Greece
MOUNTOUSIS, I., K. PAPANIKOLAOU, F. CHATZITHEODORIDIS, CH. ROUKOS and A. PAPAZAFIRIOU, 2008. Monthly variations of mineral content in semi-arid rangelands in western Macedonia - Greece. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 14: 361-372
The effect of growing season and altitudinal zone on herbage production and mineral element content (K, Na, Ca, P, Mg, Fe, Zn, Cu and Mn) in grazable material, were studied in herbage samples harvested from semi-arid pasturelands in Western Macedonia region - Greece. Sample collection was accomplished by clipping herbage biomass in situ at 2 cm above the ground. The statistical analysis showed an important effect of the harvest month and altitudinal zone on the herbage production, while it didn’t seem to be affected by “month x altitude” interaction. Herbage production was positively correlated with K (r= +0.412) and Mn (r= +0.460) content, while there was no significant relation between herbage production and the other mineral contents assayed. Both macro minerals and trace minerals contents were affected significantly by the harvest month, except Ca, Mg and Mn. Only K and Ca contents were affected by altitudinal zone, while it was found that there was no influence of “month x altitude” interaction on both macro minerals and trace minerals. Some of the minerals studied (K, Ca, P and Mg) were seasonally sufficient in all altitudinal zones, while it was found significant deficiency of Na, Fe, Zn, Cu and Mn in the total area studied throughout the experimental period. The data suggest that a mineral supplement should be available during the grazing period in the studied pasturelands in available forms and proper ratios.