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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Sanderson, Matt
item Labreveux, Maria
item Hall, Marvin
item Elwinger, Gerald

Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/6/2002
Publication Date: 9/20/2003
Citation: Sanderson, M.A., Labreveux, M., Hall, M.H., Elwinger, G. 2003. Nutritive value of chicory and English plantain. Crop Science. 43:1797-1804.

Interpretive Summary: Forage-livestock producers in the northeastern USA often face a shortage of forage on pasture during the mid- to late-summer. Several new forage species, such as chicory and plantain, are available that may have potential for this mixture, but information on their adaptation and productivity in the Northeast is lacking. Our objective in this study was to determine the nutritive value of chicory and plantain for grazing animals. Chicory was more digestible than plantain and generally had higher concentrations of most minerals. Varieties of chicory and plantain did not differ in nutritive value. Our results indicate that inclusion of herbs, such as chicory or plantain, in pastures may enhance the nutritional profile of the grazed forage and may be equivalent in nutritive value to forage grasses and legumes. These benefits must be balanced against the short-term persistence of chicory and the lack of persistence in plantain in the northeastern U.S.

Technical Abstract: Graziers in the northeast often face forage shortages in midsummer. Chicory (Cichorium intybus L.) and English plantain (Plantago lanceolata L.) have been introduced in the USA as perennial herbs for pastures and have been touted as drought tolerant. We conducted two field-plot experiments at Rock Springs, PA during 1997 to 2001 to evaluate the nutritive value of chicory and plantain in clipped field plots. 'Grasslands Puna', 'Lacerta', and 'Forage Feast' chicory, and 'Ceres Tonic', and 'Grasslands Lancelot' grazing plantain were sown in field plots in May 1997 and 1999 and harvested multiple times in 1998 (Experiment 1) and 2000 (Experiment 2). Herbage from three harvests in 1998 and two harvests in 2000 were analyzed for in vitro true digestibility (IVTD), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), and the minerals P, K, Ca, Mg, Mn, Cu, B, and Zn. Averaged for cultivars, chicory had 11% higher (P < 0.05) IVTD and 6 to 20% lower (P < 0.05) NDF than plantain. Concentrations of all minerals, except for Ca and Na, were 17 to 48% higher (P < 0.05) in chicory than plantain. There were few meaningful differences in nutritive value among cultivars within chicory or plantain. Chicory and plantain are of relatively high nutritive value and could enhance the nutritional profile of mixed species pastures.

Last Modified: 06/22/2017
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