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Agriculture 2015, 5(3), 475-491;

Beneficial Effects of Temperate Forage Legumes that Contain Condensed Tannins

Department of Plants, Soils and Climate, Utah State University, 4820 Old Main Hill, Logan, UT 84322, USA
Department of Wildland Resources, Utah State University, 5230 Old Main Hill, Logan, UT 84322, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Cory Matthew
Received: 21 May 2015 / Revised: 10 July 2015 / Accepted: 13 July 2015 / Published: 20 July 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forage Plant Ecophysiology)
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The two temperate forage legumes containing condensed tannins (CT) that promote ruminant production are birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L.; BFT) and sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia Scop.; SF). Both are well-adapted to the cool-temperate climate and alkaline soils of the Mountain West USA. Condensed tannins comprise a diverse family of bioactive chemicals with multiple beneficial functions for ruminants, including suppression of internal parasites and enteric methane. Birdsfoot trefoil contains 10 to 40 g·CT·kg−1 dry matter (DM), while SF contains 30 to 80 g·CT·kg−1 DM. Our studies have focused on these two plant species and have demonstrated consistently elevated rates of gain for beef calves grazing both BFT and SF. Novel results from our BFT research include carcass dressing percentages and consumer sensory evaluations equivalent to feedlot-finished steers and significantly greater than grass-finished steers, but with omega-3 fatty acid concentrations equal to grass-finished beef. We have further demonstrated that ruminants fed BFT or SF will consume more endophyte-infected tall fescue (Schedonorus arundinaceus (Schreb.) Dumort.) forage or seed than ruminants fed a non-CT forage legume. There is great potential value for sustainable livestock production in the use of highly digestible, nitrogen-fixing legumes containing tannins demonstrated to improve ruminant productivity. View Full-Text
Keywords: proanthocyanidin; birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L.); sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia Scop.) proanthocyanidin; birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L.); sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia Scop.)

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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MacAdam, J.W.; Villalba, J.J. Beneficial Effects of Temperate Forage Legumes that Contain Condensed Tannins. Agriculture 2015, 5, 475-491.

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