Yield, persistency and chemical composition of Lotus species and varieties (birdsfoot trefoil and greater birdsfoot trefoil) when harvested for silage in the UK

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Abstract

The yield and chemical composition of thirteen Lotus corniculatus varieties and one Lotus uliginosus variety, when grown and ensiled in the UK, were investigated. Replicate plots of each variety were established in a randomized block design. Dry-matter (DM) yield was measured over two harvest years. At cuts 1 and 2 of the first harvest year, 1 kg of each variety was ensiled and sub-sampled for chemical analysis. At cut 2 of the second harvest year, sub-samples of forage were analysed for condensed tannins. Two L. corniculatus varieties, Oberhaunstaedter and Lotar, had higher DM yields (with Oberhaunstaedter having the highest DM yield at cut 3) in both harvest years compared with other varieties (P <0·001). Chemical analyses showed differences among silages of varieties of L. corniculatus (P <0·001) and that the ammonia-N concentration of L. uliginosus silage was higher than that of L. corniculatus (P <0·001), despite its lactic acid concentrations being within the range observed for L. corniculatus (17 g kg−1 DM vs. 13–19 g kg−1 DM). Differences (P <0·001) in HCl/Butanol test absorbance units were found among varieties of L. corniculatus, indicating possible differences in concentrations of condensed tannins. Overall, the variety Oberhaunstaedter was found to be the most suitable variety for silage production. Based on its agronomic performance, L. corniculatus does not compare well with other legumes such as red clover.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-145
Number of pages12
JournalGrass and Forage Science
Volume61
Issue number2
Early online date05 May 2006
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006

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