Highlights of four years' research

Healthy Hay project generates positive results

Several significant results highlight the importance of the EU HealthyHay project which has been running for the last four years.  Researchers across Europe examined all aspects of this forage legume and its appliation within modern farming systems.

Significantly, the scientists identified that there is huge diversity within sainfoin varieties in terms of agronomic performance, growth habit and the chemical components that impact on animal and human health.  This opens up the potential for sainfoin's wider use as these variations are further exploited through plant breeding.

From all the varieties of sainfoin identified, around 40 have been selected for further evaluation as these have the most promise for agricultural use and ruminant health.

As well as new sainfoin-specific findings, the Healthy Hay researchers also developed several innovative new plant screening methods to support sainfoin breeding programmes which will be of huge benefit to ongoing sainfoin research, as well as to other scientists.

To ensure farmers can optimise the benefits of growing sainfoin, the focus of future sainfoin improvement will be on harvest times, yield, pest resistance and on optimising the various chemical components of sainfoin to maximise animal health.

Sainfoin for forage

Sainfoin for forage