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Tanniferous forage plants: Agronomic performance, palatability and efficacy against parasitic nematodes in sheep

Häring, D.A.; Scharenberg, A.; Heckendorn, F.; Dohme, F.; Lüscher, A.; Maurer, V.; Suter, D. and Hertzberg, H. (2007) Tanniferous forage plants: Agronomic performance, palatability and efficacy against parasitic nematodes in sheep. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, 23 (1), pp. 19-29.

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Summary

Tanniferous forage plants can have beneficial effects on ruminant productivity and health (improved protein supply, bloat safety and antiparasitic properties). However, condensed tannins can also lower palatability, voluntary feed intake and digestibility. The aim of our interdisciplinary project was to generate basic knowledge on plant management, feed palatability and the antiparasitic properties of tanniferous forage plants for their practical application in agronomy, focusing on their usefulness in controlling gastrointestinal nematodes in organic farming. We found that Onobrychis viciifolia (sainfoin), Lotus corniculatus (birdsfoot trefoil) and Cichorium intybus (chicory) were suitable for cultivation under the given temperate climatic conditions, whereas Lotus pedunculatus (big trefoil) was soon outcompeted by unsown species. Growing the tanniferous plant species in a mixture with Festuca pratensis (meadow fescue) rather than in a monoculture had the advantage of increasing total dry matter (DM) yield (especially in the case of tanniferous legumes) and of reducing the DM proportions of unsown species. However, due to dilution by non-tanniferous F. pratensis, the tannin concentrations of mixtures were clearly lower and the seasonal fluctuations in tannin concentrations greater than that of monocultures. Across species, tannin concentrations were highest for O. viciifolia, followed by L. corniculatus and very low for C. intybus. Palatability of all tanniferous forages was comparable to that of a ryegrass/clover mixture when fed as dried forage and, when offered as silage, palatability of O. viciifolia was clearly superior to that of the respective ryegrass/clover control. Administration of dried or ensiled O. viciifolia reduced parasite egg counts in feces of lambs co-infected with the gastrointestinal nematode species Haemonchus contortus and Cooperia curticei. We conclude that O. viciifolia is the most promising among the tested tanniferous forage plant species due to its suitability for cultivation, its high tannin concentration, its high palatability and its antiparasitic activity even in dried or ensiled form.


EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Veterninärparasitologie, Endoparasitenkontrolle, Kondensierte Tannine, condensed tannins, proanthocyanidins, forage cultivation, yield, silage, palatability, gastrointestinal nematodes, parasite control, sheep
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Production systems > Sheep and goats
Animal husbandry > Health and welfare
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Veterinary Parasitology
Related Links:http://www.fibl.org/forschung/veterinaerparasitologie/tannine.php
Deposited By: Heckendorn F, biologist MSc
ID Code:13304
Deposited On:23 Mar 2008
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:37
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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