Yield and nutritive value of sainfoin (Onobrychis vicifolia Scop.) populations in different cuttings

Document Type : Research paper


1 Natural Resources Research Department, Isfahan Agricultural and Natural Resources Research Center, Agricultural Research Education and Extension Organization (AREEO), P. O. Box: 81785-199, Isfahan, Iran.

2 Agricultural Research Education and Extension Organization (AREEO), Tehran, Iran.


Sainfoin (Onobrychis vicifolia Scop.) is one of the most important forage legumes cultivated as high quality forage. Fifty three species have been identified in this genus in Iran. A field experiment was conducted using randomized complete block design to compare yield and forage quality of 20 populations of sainfoin in Isfahan Agricultural and Natural Resources Center, Iran during 2013 – 2014. Populations were evaluated at three cutting dates (29 April, 20 July and 26 October, 2014). Dry matter yield and forage quality indices such as crude protein (CP), water-soluble carbohydrates (WSC), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), acid detergent fiber (ADF), dry matter digestibility (DMD), and ash content were determined. Results showed that populations were different in the majority of traits. Means of interaction effects indicated that the maximum and minimum dry matter yield were 5612.7 kg ha-1 at the third cutting and 118.5 kg ha-1 at the first cutting in 8199 and 9263, respectively. According to the results of quality analysis in the majority of populations, maximum DMD, CP and WSC were obtained at the third cutting and maximum ADF and NDF were obtained at the first cutting. In terms of forage yield some populations, such as 8199, 3800, Oshnavieh, 9147, 8799 and Isfahan camposit were superior to other populations. High digestibility populations (2759, 19402, PLC, 12542, 3001 and Oshnavieh) and high protein populations (8199, 15353, 2759, 3062, 15364 and 19402) had the best forage quality among populations. Regarding quantitative and qualitative characteristics of forage, these populations could be considered as desired parents for developing synthetic varieties.


Abbasi M. R. (2012). Genetic diversity in Iranian sainfoin germplasms with emphasis on agronomic traits. Iranian Journal of Rangelands and Forests Plant Breeding and Genetic Research, 20(1): 160–171.
Achata Bottger J. A., Bundy C. S., Oesterle N., and Hanson S. F. (2013). Phylogenetic analysis of the alfalfa weevil complex (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) in North America. Journal of Economic Entomology, 106(1): 426–436.
Adel M. (2014). Opportunities and challenge on bioenergy in Iranian agriculture section. The 1st International Conferences on New Ideas in Agriculture, 26-27 Jan, Isfahan, Iran.
Alizadeh M., Moeini M. R., Jafari A., and kamel M. (2019).Evaluation of quantitative and qualitative traits and resistance populations to powdery mildew in sainfoin plant (Onobrychis vicifolia). Applied Field Crops Research, 32(02): 25–41. (In Persian)
Alizadeh M. A., Jafari A. A., Sayedian S. E., Amirkhani M., Pahlevani M. R., Fallah Hoseini L., and Ramezani Yeganeh M. (2018). Evaluation of yield and quality traits of tolerant and semi tolerant populations to powdery mildew in sainfoin (Onobrychis viciaefolia). Iranian Journal of Rangelands Forests Plant Breeding and Genetic Research, 26(2): 311–326.
Arzani H., Basiri M., Khatibi F., and Ghorbani G. (2006). Nutritive value of some Zagros Mountain rangeland species. Small Ruminant Research, 65: 128–135.
Arzani H., Torkan J., Jafari M., and Nikkhah A. (2001). Investigation on effects of phenological stages and environmental factors (soil and climate) on forage quality of some important range species. Journal of Agricultural Science, 32:385–397.
Aufrère J., Dudilieu M., and Poncet C. (2008). In vivo and in situ measurements of the digestive characteristics of sainfoin in comparison with lucerne fed to sheep as fresh forages at two growth stages and as hay. Animal, 2(9): 1331–1339.
Aygün C., Olgun M., Turan M., Ardiç M., and Sezer O. (2018). Identification of sainfoin species (Onobrychis spp.) from morphologic characters and flower colour by L*a*b*, RGB and HSV colours by principle component analysis. Journal of Applied Biological Sciences, 12(3): 45–52.
Bal M. A., Ozturk D., Aydin R., Erol A., Ozkan C. O., Ata M., Karakas E., and Karabay P. (2006). Nutritive value of sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia) harvested at different maturity stages. Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, 9(2): 205–209.
Bhattarai S., Coulman B., and Biligetu B. (2016). Sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia Scop.): renewed interest as a forage legume for western Canada. Canadian Journal of Plant Science, 96: 748–756.
Carbonero C. H., Mueller-Harvey I., Brown T. A., and Smith L. (2011). Sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia): a beneficial forage legume. Plant Genetic Resources: Characterization and Utilization, 9(1): 70–85.
Çelik A., Karakaya A., Avcı S., Sancak C., and Özcan S. (2011). Powdery mildews observed on Onobrychis spp. in Turkey. Australasian Plant Disease Notes, 6: 49–53.
Cicek H., Ates S., Ozcan G., Tezel M., Kling G. J., Louhaichi M., and Keles G. (2020). Effect of nurse crops and seeding rate on the persistence, productivity and nutritive value of sainfoin in a cereal-based production system. Grass and Forage Science, 75(1): 86–95.
Delgado I., Salvia J., Buil I., and Andres C. (2008). The agronomic variability of a collection of sainfoin accessions. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, 6(3): 401–407.
Demdoum S., Munoz F., Delgado I., Valderrabano J., and Wunsch A. (2012). EST-SSR cross-amplification and genetic similarity in Onobrychis genus. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution, 59(2): 253–260.
Doyle C. J., Thomson D. J., and Sheehy J. E. (1984). The future of sainfoin in British agriculture: an economic assessment. Grass and Forage Science, 39: 43–51.
Gerami B. (1990). Sainfoin. Isfahan University of Technology Press, pp. 87.
Hackmann T. J., Sampson J. D., and Spain J. N. (2008), Comparing relative feed value with degradation parameters of grass and legume forages. Journal of Animal Science,86: 2344–2356.
Hoste H., Martinez-Ortiz-De-Montellano C., Manolaraki F., Brunet S., Ojeda-Robertos N., Fourquaux I., Torres-Acosta J. F., and Sandoval-Castro C. A. (2012). Direct and indirect effects of bioactive tannin-rich tropical and temperate legumes against nematode infections. Veterinary Parasitology, 186(1–2): 18–27. Jafari A. A., Connolly V., Frolich A., and Walsh E. K. (2003). A note on estimation of quality 10 in perennial ryegrass by near infrared spectroscopy. Irish Journal of Agricultural and Food 11 Research, 42: 293–299.
Jafari A. A., Rasoli M., Tabaei-Aghdaei S. R., Salehi Shanjani P., and Alizadeh M. A. (2014). Evaluation of herbage yield, agronomic traits and powdery mildew disease in 35 populations of sainfoin (Onobrychis sativa) across 5 environments of Iran. Romanian Agricultural Research,31: 41–48.
Kamalak A., Atalay A. I., Ozkan C. O., Kaya E., and Tatliyer A. (2011). Determination of potential nutritive value of Trigonella kotschi fenzl hay harvested at three different maturity stages. Kafkas Universitesi Veteriner Fakultesi Dergisi, 17: 635–640.
Kaplan M. (2011). Determination of potential nutritive value of sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia Scop.) hays harvested at flowering stage. Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances, 10(15): 2028–2031.
Khalilvandi-Behroozyar H., Dehghan-Banadaky M., and Rezayazdi K. (2010). Palatability, in situ and in vitro nutritive value of dried sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia). Journal of Agricultural Science, 148(6): 723–733.
Leen J., and Martin N. P. (2004). Forage quality tests and interpretation. Agriculture, Food and Environment sciences,6: 67–80.
Majidi M., and Arzani A. (2009). Study of relationship between morphological, agronomic and qualitative traits in sainfoin populations. Sciences and Technology of Agricultural and Natural Resources, 16: 159-172.
Mohajer S., Jafari A. A., and Taha R. M. (2011). Studies on seed and forage yield in 10 populations of sainfoin (Onobrychis sativa) grown as spaced plants and swards. Journal of Food, Agriculture & Environment, 9 (1): 222–227.
Mohajer S., Jafari A. A., Taha R. M., Yaacob J. S., and Saleh A. (2013). Genetic diversity analysis of agro-morphological and quality traits in populations of sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia Scop.). Australian Journal of Crop Science, 7(7): 1024–1031.
Mohammad Abadi A. S., and Kochaki A. (1997). Effect of different amounts of nitrogen and harvesting time on agronomic traits, yield and nutritional value of sainfoin. Agricultural Science and Technology, 11(2): 109–124.
Naseri B., and Alizadeh M. A. (2017). Climate, powdery mildew, sainfoin resistance and yield. Journal of Plant Pathology, 99(3): 619–625.
Porqueddu C., Ledda L., and Roggero P. P. (2000). Role of forage legumes and constraints for forage legume seed production in Mediterranean Europe. Cahiers Options Mediterraneennes, 45: 453–460.
Razmju K., Saeidi G., Agheb S., and Khayam- Nekuei S. (2006). Study of deferent cuts on forage yield and quality of sainfoin landraces in Isfahan. Iranian Agricultural Sciences, 3: 413–423.
Rezaee A., Tabatabaei M. M., Ahmadi A., and Sepehri A. (2008). The effect of growth stage and cutting on agronomic traits, chemical composition and nutritional value of sainfoin. Agricultural Biotechnology, 4(7): 61–70.
Scharenberg A., Heckendorn F., Arrigo Y., Hertzberg H., Gutzwiller A., Hess H. D., Kreuzer M., and Dohme F. (2008). Nitrogen and mineral balance of lambs artificially infected with Haemonchus contortus and fed tanniferous sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia). Journal of Animal Science, 86 (8): 1879–1890.
Sharifnabi B., and Nekouee A. (1996). Evaluation of host range, specific state and biometric characteristics of Levellula taurica, as a factor of the powdery mildew disease in Isfahan province. Plant Diseases, 23: 284–289.
Soares M. I. M., Kakhimov S., and Shakiroz Z. (2000). Productivity of the desert legume “Onobrychis”. Dry Land Biotechnology, 6: 117–134.
Sottie E. T., Acharya S. N., McAllister T., Thomas J., Wang Y., and Iwaasa A. (2014). Alfalfa pasture bloat can be eliminated by intermixing with newly-developed sainfoin population. Agronomy Journal, 106(4): 1470–1478.
Tadayyon A., and Rafieiolhossaini M. (2013). Evaluation of the quantitative and qualitative forage characteristics of different ecotypes of sainfoin at Shahrekord region. Journal of Crops Improvement, 15(1): 39–52.
Toorchi M., Aharizad S., Moghaddam M., Etedali F., and Tabatabavakil S. H. (2007). Estimation of genetic parameters and general combining ability of Sainfoin landraces with respect to forage yield. Journal of Science and Technology of Agriculture and Natural Resources, 11(40): 213–223.
Turk M., and Celik N. (2006). The effects of different row spaces and seeding rates on the hay and crude protein yields of Sainfoin (Onobrychis sativa Lam.). Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 12(2): 175–181.
Turk M., Albayrak S., Tuzun C. G., and Yuksel O. (2011). Effects of fertilization and harvesting stages on forage yield and quality of sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia Scop.). Bulgarian Journal of Agricultural Science, 17: 789–794.
Van Soest P. J., Robertson J. B., and Levvis B. A. (1991). Methods for dietary fiber, neutral detergent fiber and non-starch polysaccharides in ration to animal nutrition. Journal of Animal Science, 74: 3583–3597.
Walton P. D. (1983). Production and management of cultivated forages. Prentice-Hall Company Reston, Virginia, pp. 336.
Wang Y., McAllister T. A., and Acharya S. (2015). Condensed tannins in sainfoin: composition, concentration, and effects on nutritive and feeding value of sainfoin forage. Crop Science, 55(1): 13–22.
Xu B. C., Gichuki P., Shan L., and Li F. M. (2006). Aboveground biomass production and soil water dynamics of four leguminous forages in semiarid region, northwest China. South African Journal of Botany, 72: 507–516.
Yaghmaei L., Soltani S., and Khodagholi M. (2009). Bioclimatic classification of Isfahan province using multivariate statistical methods. International Journal of Climatology, 29: 1850–1861. (In Persian)