BACKGROUND: Berseem clover is the main forage crop grown in Mediterranean regions. There are plenty of cultivars that possess variability in their productivity and quality among the different cuts. Therefore, accurate agronomic and qualitative characterization is crucial for selecting the most promising cultivars for breeding and feeding purposes. In the present study, the agronomic characteristics, ruminal degradability and fermentation measures of five cuts of the five most prominent Egyptian beseem clover cultivars (Helaly, Serw, Giza6, Gemmeza1 and Sakha4) were evaluated. RESULTS: The Giza6 cultivar produced a significantly higher fresh yield and high whole plant dry matter content on the 3rd cut. Giza6 was among the superior cultivars in crude protein content and had the highest values of gas production at the 3rd cut, and ruminal degraded acid detergent fiber and propionate concentrations at the 2nd cut, at the same time as presenting the lowest ammonia concentrations at the 3rd and 5th cuts. Overall, the 3rd cut produced significantly higher fresh yield across all cultivars, except for Sakha4. The 3rd cut also produced a higher leaf to stem ratio compared to the 4th and 5th cuts. The 1st three cuts had higher degraded neutral detergent fiber than the 4th and 5th cuts. The 1st cut was characterized by low propionate concentration in the Helaly and Gemmeza1 cultivars compared to the other cuts. CONCLUSION: Expanded production of the high-yielding, high-quality cultivar Giza6 is recommended. When harvesting, three cuts is optimal for berseem clover cultivation for breeding and feeding programs.
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