Improving the quality of grass-clover mixtures for forage production

    Project Details


    General introduction
    This project’s longer-term goal is to introduce interesting cultivars of grass and clover seed mixtures for farm produced forages, especially forage grasses with high linoleic acid and WSC content, good protein persistence and persistent clover cultivars with high protection factor for protein and lipids.

    Research approach
    We develop screening techniques for the evaluation of protein persistence, fatty acid composition and for the determination of enzyme activities (polyphenol oxidase, lipase) and metabolites (saponins, polyphenols, quinones) that interact with protein and fat breakdown. These screening methods are then applied to study the available variation and mode of inheritance of  protein persistence and fatty acid composition in breeding populations. Finally, we study the effect of pre-drying and ensiling on feed quality for grass / clover in relation to the protective effect of clover on unsaturated fatty acids.


    In Flanders, farmers involved in intensive livestock farming (61% of total production value of the agricultural and horticultural production) suffer from scarcity of land. Upgrading farm produced forages in the feed range, an improved utilization in the cow by increased protein stability and a higher WSC content (together with reduced N-emissions), and healthier milk through the feeding of grass and clovers are generally sought after effects. This is particularly true if the farmer does not have to sacrifice profit by moving toward less intensive prodcution. These results reach dairy farmers, who are the main "valorization actors", in an indirect way by introducing new, high-quality plant varieties through plant breeding.

    Funding provider(s)
    IWT - Instituut voor de aanmoediging door wetenschap en technologie in Vlaanderen

    External partner(s)
    Ugent - Fac. Bio-ingenieurswetenschappen
    Effective start/end date1/01/0731/12/10

    Data Management Plan flag for FRIS

    • DMP not present


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