Best Management Practices to improve sustainability and productivity of forage-based beef cattle production systems

This project will examine the production and environmental benefits of using tannin-containing forages in their beef cattle diet. Tannins occur naturally in several forage species including trefoil and sainfoin, and have been shown to have several production benefits, including a reduction in the incidence of bloat, and improved protein utilization in ruminant animals.

The improved protein utilization also has the potential to reduce urine nitrogen losses compared to other legumes like alfalfa, leading to a potential reduction in another greenhouse gas — nitrous oxide.

Finally, as tannin-containing legumes have been shown to have antimicrobial properties, shedding of pathogenic organisms in cattle may be reduced by using tannin-containing legumes in the diet.

The forage plots have been established at the Agriculture and Agri-Food (AAFC), Brandon Research Station.

Project Contact(s):
Dr. Kim Ominski
Ph: (204) 297-8910, E-mail:
Start Date: Spring 2005
Completion Date: September 2014
Funding Partners: MFC, University of Manitoba, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at Brandon, Greencover Canada
Project Results: On going.