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Effects of genotype, inoculation and maturity stage at harvest on red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) yield and chemical composition
; Agronomski fakultet Sveučilišta u Zagrebu, Zavod za specijalnu proizvodnju bilja, Centar za travnjaštvo, Svetošimunska 25, 10000 Zagreb, Hrvatska
Red clover is a highly productive, protein-rich fodder crop, with more “bypass” proteins and more digestible fibres than alfalfa providing more energy dense forage to lactating dairy cows diets. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of inoculation of three red clover cultivars with two strains of Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. trifolii, as well as the effect of cutting them in two different maturity stages on yield and chemical composition. Delaying harvest time of red clover from early budding to early flowering increased DM yield in two out of three cultivars in the sowing year, and in all three cultivars in the last year of study. An increase in relative proportion of stem in total DM yield, and a reduction in the relative proportion of leaf and flowers in all three years of research was observed. Cutting of red clover in the early budding stage resulted in 15.4 % more crude protein content than in the early flowering, whereas differences in neutral and acid detergent fibre were not significant. Red clover cultivars showed significant variation in all traits, while inoculation had no significant effect on any trait of red clover.
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