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A two-year comparison on nutritive value and yield of eight lucerne cultivars and one red clover cultivar

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Red clover (Trifolium pratense) and lucerne (Medicago sativa) are among the most common legume species used for ruminant feeding systems. Besides the greater nutritive quality and first-year ley yield compared to lucerne, red clover decreases its yield over the years. However, under unfavourable soil conditions the persistency of lucerne can be compromised, not performing as expected. This study compared yield and chemical composition of eight lucerne cultivars and one tetraploid red clover cultivar, with similar growth capacity as lucerne, replicated over two years. In the second year, four lucerne cultivars and the red clover cultivar were analysed for crude protein (CP) fractions, dry matter and neutral detergent fibre (NDF) digestibility. A randomized block design was used with three field blocks per cultivar for the multiple comparisons within each year. There were differences in DM yield, concentrations of CP and NDF and CP fractions among the lucerne cultivars, but the differences were inconsistent between years and between growth cycles within year. The red clover cultivar had lower CP and NDF concentrations than a majority of the lucerne cultivars, and greater in vitro organic matter digestibility compared to all of the lucerne cultivars. Also, the red clover cultivar had greater rumen undegradable-to-degradable CP ratio but confirmed its lower yield persistency compared to the lucerne cultivars.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftGrass and Forage Science
ISSN0142-5242
DOI
StatusAccepteret/In press - 2020

ID: 234276144