Chicory and beef cattle performance


This study showed that there are no effects of grazing beef steers on chicory /ryegrass pastures on livestock performance, faecal parasite egg counts, carcass characteristics or meat quality when compared with grazing beef steers on ryegrass only swards.

Chicory can be successfully ensiled when at a vegetative stage in mixtures with perennial ryegrass and red clover. Using an inoculant when ensiling 100 % chicory improved fermentation and silage quality.

Sowing chicory plots with ryegrass only and treating with artificial nitrogen was the best approach to maintain the persistency of chicory within mixed swards as chicory did not compete well with red clover when sown in combination with ryegrass.


Planned activity:

The results, in addition to results from other experiments, will be used as the basis of a BRP+ resource on chicory management.

Beef & Lamb
Project code:
01 September 2009 - 31 March 2012
AHDB Beef & Lamb
Total project value:
Project leader:
Dr Christina Marley, IBERS



About this project

The Problem:

The benefits of chicory for lambs, in terms of increased liveweight gain, reduced finishing time and improved worm control, has been shown extensively.  However, little is known about the performance of cattle grazing chicory in the UK.

Including chicory in grass seed mixtures is becoming more popular, as it offers high yields of very palatable and nutritious fodder for grazing livestock.  However, little is know about the effects of chicory when ensiled in combination with other forages on fermentation characteristics and silage quality, which currently limits its use.


Project Aims:

  1. To investigate the effects of chicory on the productivity, faecal egg counts and carcase characteristics of beef steers;
  2. To determine the effects of chicory when ensiled in combination with other forages on fermentation characteristics and silage quality.
  3. To investigate the agronomic performance of chicory when sown in different combinations with grasses or clover for maximum persistency of chicory, optimal forage quality and nutritional benefits for livestock.



The performance of 36 steers was measured from approximately 7 months of age through to finishing over two consecutive grazing seasons.  18 steers were grazed on perennial ryegrass only and 18 will be grazed on chicory plus perennial ryegrass.

Mixtures of chicory, ryegrass and red clover were ensiled, and analysed after 90 days.

Field plots were sown with chicory and ryegrass in differing proportions, and either with or without red clover.  The plots were mechanically harvested to simulate grazing.  Yield, forage DM yield, botanical and chemical composition and the nutritional value were collected.