Trace Elements Content of Plant Material Growing on Alkaline Organic Soils and Its Suitability for Small Ruminant Extensive Farming

1 Halkidikis 101, 54248, Thessaloniki, Greece
2 Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Faculty of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Environment, Laboratory of Applied Soil Science, 541 24 Thessaloniki, Greece
3 Alexander Technological Educational Institute of Thessaloniki, Department of Agricultural Technology, Laboratory of Soil Science, 57 400 Sindos Thessaloniki, Greece
4 Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Range Science, Forestry & Natural Environment, 541 24 Thessaloniki, Greece


PAPAZAFEIRIOU, A. Z., Ch. LAKIS, S. STEFANOU, M. YIAKOULAKI, P. MPOKOS and K. PAPANIKOLAOU, 2016. Trace elements content of plant material growing on alkaline organic soils and its suitability for small ruminant extensive farming. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 22: 733–739

The soils in the basin of Philippoi, Greece are organic with an alkaline pH, due to topographic, hydraulic and climatic conditions. The main agricultural activity is extensive small ruminant farming, based on the grazing of natural forage species and silage coming from corn cultivated locally. Fe, Zn, Cu, Mn and Se concentrations in forage species and corn were investigated in order to evaluate their suitability to meet the nutrient requirements for small ruminants. Twenty sites were selected and plant samples were collected in the peak of the growth period. Results showed that Zn and Mn concentrations in the plant material followed the distribution of organic matter in the topsoil, while the opposite is true for Cu. The distribution of Fe and Se was independent of the organic matter content. Zn, Mn and Se concentrations met the animals needs with no danger for either deficiency or toxicity. Fe and Cu concentrations exceeded those of maximum tolerable level. Consumption of high level of Fe may present hazardous conditions for small ruminants. Therefore, the use of plant material growing on these soils in the animals’ feeding schedule must be considered with caution, in order to avoid problems to their health.

Key words: mineral concentration, peat soils, forage species, nutrient requirements

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