Agroscope, Institute for Plant Production Sciences IPS, 1260 Nyon, Switzerland

The nutritive value of red clover

Red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) had a higher content of protein and of digestible organic matter than orchard grass (Dactylis glomerata L) during the first, second and third growth cycles. With advancing maturity, the protein content and the digestibility decreased in both species. Red clover showed approximately 40 % less cell wall content than orchard grass. The principal difference in the cell wall was the small amount of heicellulose in red clover. The content of formononetin varied between varieties from 5.4 to 9.6 g/kg DM. The formononetin is supposed to be responsible for the oestrogenic effect of red clover.

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