ADDING plantain – a forage herb – as an option in its most popular herbage seed mixtures gives livestock farmers an added opportunity to boost home-grown protein production, says forage specialist, Germinal.

Its market-leading plantain variety, Tonic, is available in a number of Germinal’s latest mixtures, including their biggest selling Aber HSG 3 Long Term Grazing, as well as in the company’s multi-species leys.

“Plantain is a broad-leaved perennial forage herb that produces high yields of palatable dry matter rich in protein and key minerals,” said Germinal GB’s national agricultural sales manager, Ben Wixey. “It is particularly well suited to rotational grazing systems, providing rapid regrowth post-grazing.

"It’s strong and substantial root structure makes it particularly tolerant of drought conditions and Tonic is known to have a diuretic effect that firms up the dung and reduces dagging as a consequence.

“It is particularly beneficial for supporting milk production in ewes in the spring and, due to its palatability, offers lambs an early opportunity to develop rumen function,” he added.

* Under certain conditions plantain can yield up to 20t DM/ha, although 8-9 tonnes DM/ha (3.2-3.6t DM/acre) may be more likely in the UK. Reports from New Zealand suggest that the growth rate for plantain mix pastures can vary between 30 and 75kg

DM/ha/day (12-30kg DM/acre/day).