Forage herbs improve mineral composition of grassland herbage

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Karin Pirhofer-Walzl, Karen Søegaard, Henning Høgh Jensen, J. Eriksen, M.A. Sanderson, J. Rasmussen, Jesper Rasmussen

Provision of an adequate mineral supply in the diets of
ruminants fed mainly on grassland herbage can present
a challenge if mineral concentrations are suboptimal for
animal nutrition. Forage herbs may be included in
grassland seed mixtures to improve herbage mineral
content, although there is limited information about
mineral concentrations in forage herbs. To determine
whether herbs have greater macro- and micromineral
concentrations than forage legumes and grasses, we
conducted a 2-year experiment on a loamy-sand site in
Denmark sown with a multi-species mixture comprised
of three functional groups (grasses, legumes and herbs).
Herb species included chicory (Cichorium intybus L.),
plantain (Plantago lanceolata L.), caraway (Carum carvi
L.) and salad burnet (Sanguisorba minor L.). We also
investigated the effect of slurry application on the
macro- and micromineral concentration of grasses,
legumes and herbs. In general, herbs had greater
concentrations of the macrominerals P, Mg, K and S
and the microminerals Zn and B than grasses and
legumes. Slurry application indirectly decreased Ca, S,
Cu and B concentrations of total herbage because of an
increase in the proportion of mineral-poor grasses. Our
study indicates that including herbs in forage mixtures
is an effective way of increasing mineral concentrations
in herbage.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGrass and Forage Science
Volume66
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)415-423
Number of pages9
ISSN0142-5242
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

    Research areas

  • LIFE - herbs, forage quality, dairy cows, functional plant groups, grass-clover swards, slurry

ID: 34251843