Nutritive value of chicory and English plantain forage

Matt A. Sanderson, Maria Labreveux, Marvin H. Hall, Gerald F. Elwinger

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49 Scopus citations


Forage production in midsummer is a challenge for graziers in the northeastern USA. Domesticated cultivars of chicory (Cichorium intybus L.) and English plantain (Plantago lanceolata L.) are available in the USA as perennial herbs for pastures. These species have been touted as having good summer production and relatively high nutritive value. We conducted two field-plot experiments at Rock Springs, PA, during 1997 to 2001 to evaluate the nutritive value of chicory and plantain under clipping. '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 (Exp. 1) and 2000 (Exp. 2). Herbage from three harvests in 1998 and two harvests in 2000 was 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, were 17 to 48% higher (P < 0.05) in chicory than in 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. The nutritive value benefits, however, must be balanced against the lack of persistence of chicory and plantain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1797-1804
Number of pages8
JournalCrop Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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