Effect of sainfoin as tannin source and forage: concentrate ratio on Digestibility, ruminal fermentation and milk yield and composition in milking ewes

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Ph.D. Student, Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Animal and Food Science, Ramin (Khuzestan) Agricultural and Natural Resources University, Ahvaz, Iran

2 Associate Professor, Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Animal and Food Science, Ramin (Khuzestan) Agricultural and Natural Resources University, Ahvaz, Iran

3 Assistant Professor, Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Animal and Food Science, Ramin (Khuzestan) Agricultural and Natural Resources University, Ahvaz, Iran

4 Assistant Professor, Department of Animal Nutrition, Animal Sciences Research Institute, Karaj, Iran


This experiment was carried out to study the effects of sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia) as tannin source and different level of forage: concentrate ratio on digestibility, blood parameters, ruminal fermentation, milk yield and milk composition in milking ewes. Therefore, eight Lori milking ewes were alocated to factorial experiment base on the 4×4 replicated Latin square design. Four total mixed ration diets were formulated with two level of concentrate and two level of intake forage which consisted of forage: concentrate ratios of 35:65 high concentrate without sainfoin (HC), 65:35 low concentrate without sainfoin (LC), 35:65 high concentrate with sainfoin (HCS) and 65:35 low concentrate with sainfoin (LCS). Total phenols, total and condensed tannin among treatments were significantly different (P<0.05). Digestibility of DM and OM in the HCS treatment were higher compared to the other treatments (P<0.05). The ruminal pH and NH3-N values in HCS and HC diets were lower than those fed HC diet. The concentration of ruminal VFAs in ewes received low concentrate diet were higher (P<0.05). The acetate to propionate ratio was lower in HC and HCS treatments. The results showed milk yield in HC and HCS treatments was greater than other treatments (P<0.05). Level of concentrate effect were significant on milk fat, lactose, SNF and protein (P<0.05). In total, adding to sainfoin as a tannins source to diet with high concentrate ratio (65%) increased organic matter and fiber digestibility, and also increased ruminal propionate and finally, increased milk yield and protein.


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