In ruminant diets, tembien clover is a valuable source of protein that can be used as a supplement in poor quality crop residue based diets. As stated above, tembien clover forage should not be fed alone to cattle or horses as it may cause bloat (Cook et al., 2005).
Mixed stands of wheat and tembien clover increased fodder yield and fodder quality, suggesting that high quality crop residues could be prepared by Ethiopian farmers in mixed farming systems. The mixture of wheat straw and clover increased protein content and in vitro OM digestibility, and reduced NDF content compared with the pure stand of wheat (Tekalign Mamo et al., 1993).
Tembien clover is well eaten by livestock but usually not before flowering (Dougall, 1962).
In Ethiopia, tembien clover hay offered to heifers fed on crop residues (wheat straw or tef straw), supplemented with niger cake, increased the intake of rations based on wheat straw, but had no effect on the intake of tef straw-based diets. Feeding tembien clover hay increased daily weight gains and it was concluded that tembien clover could be used as a valuable protein source for growing cattle. No effect on ovarian function was observed (Olayiwole et al., 1986).
In Ethiopia, in sheep fed maize stover, oat straw, wheat straw and tef straw supplemented with tembien clover hay at 50% (DM basis), tembien clover hay increased DM intake in all cases, but the increase was higher with tef and oat straw. DM, crude protein, and energy digestibilities were also higher and N retention was increased in all cases. The highest increases of N retention were obtained when tembien clover hay was added to maize stover or oat straw. These results suggested that tembien clover hay has potential to increase the feed value of crop residues in smallholders farms (Mosi et al., 1985b). Tembien clover hay fed as a supplement to sheep resulted in a positive N balance, which was not possible on tef straw alone (Mosi et al., 1985a).