Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) monoterpenoid concentrations as factors in diet selection by free-grazing sheep

Document Type

Conference Paper

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Symposium on Plant-Herbivore Interactions


U.S. Department of Agriculture

Publication Date


First Page


Last Page



Summer and fall grazing trials were conducted to study the effect of monoterpenoid concentrations on the diet selection of sheep grazing big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. tridentata) range. Total monoterpenoid concentrations were significantly lower in browsed sagebrush plants than in rejected plants. Sheep selected older plants and plant parts, not current season's growth. As annual grasses in the community declined, sheep consumed more sagebrush, resulting in an increase in dietary crude protein but a decline in in vitro organic matter digestibility. This study indicates that monoterpenoid levels, not nutritional constituents, may influence sheep diet selection of sagebrush.