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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Fractionation of mixed grass and clover stands using a leaf stripper

Micke, Brooke; Bergqvist, Sanna; Adler, Steffen; Morel, Julien; Parsons, David


Leys are an important part of northern European livestock production, particularly for ruminants since monogastric animals are limited in their ability to digest the fibres of the forage. Crop fractionation methods are a promising option to make forages more beneficial for monogastric animals and decrease the amount of imported protein feed. A leaf stripping harvesting technique was evaluated at Robacksdalen in northern Sweden in mixed grass-clover leys over 2 years. The PremAlfa Mini leaf stripper (Trust'ing-Alf'ing, Nantes, France) worked well in mixed stands, harvesting on average a third of the available forage biomass, primarily in the form of leaves and soft stems from the clover plants. It proved successful in producing a forage fraction that had a significantly higher crude protein (CP) concentration (+39.1%) and lower neutral detergent fibre (aNDFom) concentration (-21.4%) than the pre-harvest mixed sward (all significant at p < .05 level). Due to the remaining high level of aNDFom in the leaf stripper fraction, it is more suited for use as an energy source for monogastrics rather than as a protein supplement. Alternatively, the leaf stripper fraction could be used to increase digestibility and CP content in the feed rations of high producing dairy cows.


biorefinery; crude protein; forage; fractionation; monogastric; neutral detergent fibre; ruminant

Published in

Grass and Forage Science
2024, Volume: 79, number: 2, pages: 158-169
Publisher: WILEY