12 July 2002

Red clover silage makes meat and milk more healthy healthier

PRODUCING milk and meat with properties which reduce the risk of heart attacks in humans has proved relatively easy in research at the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research, Aberystwyth.

The institutes Richard Dewhurst told the meeting that feeding red clover silage to dairy cows increased the Omega-3 fatty acid in milk by 200-300%. These acids, which are also found in fish oils, have proven to be beneficial for the heart, he added.

Red clover silage also doubled the Omega-3 fatty acids in meat when fed to beef cattle. In addition, tests in the UK have indicated that British consumers prefer the taste of this meat.

"To get these results, red clover silage was the only forage offered. But we also found feeding half red clover and half grass silage produced half the effect.

"A good red clover silage with 30% dry matter was easier to make than we thought, providing we did not disturb the crop too much and used a biological inoculant," he said.