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Evaluating the effects of wilting, mixing with timothy and silage additive application on red clover silage quality


  • Marketta Rinne Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)
  • Marcia Franco Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)
  • Katariina Manni Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)
  • Arto Huuskonen Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)


aerobic stability, fermentation, formic acid, lactic acid bacteria, Phleum pratense, Trifolium pratense


Red clover is typically produced as a mixed stand with grasses, which may lead to suboptimal fertilization and harvest time practices, resulting in poor survival of red clover. Further, unknown proportions of red clover in mixed swards complicate ration formulation for livestock. Thus, producing red clover as pure stands could offer benefits, but it may be difficult to ensile. The objective of the current study was to evaluate major management possibilities such as wilting, inclusion of timothy grass and different types of additives in optimizing the ensilage of red clover. Low DM silages were poorly preserved with high pH, elevated acetic acid concentrations and proportions of ammonia-N in total N, as well as depleted water-soluble carbohydrate levels. Moderate wilting clearly improved the fermentation quality of silages. Further, the use of formic acid-based additives improved the fermentation quality of the silages, the effect being more pronounced in the low than medium dry matter silages. The composition of red clover and timothy were rather similar regarding dry matter content and ensilability. This was probably the reason why clear benefits in silage quality from timothy inclusion could not be demonstrated.


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How to Cite

Rinne, M., Franco, M., Manni, K., & Huuskonen, A. (2023). Evaluating the effects of wilting, mixing with timothy and silage additive application on red clover silage quality. Agricultural and Food Science, 1–12.
Received 2023-09-23
Accepted 2023-12-04
Published 2023-12-31