The performance of ruminant livestock has been shown to benefit from the enhanced nutritive value and herbage yield associated with clover incorporation in the grazing sward. However, little research to date has been conducted investigating the effects of mixed swards containing white clover on the composition of the rumen microbiome. In this study, the rumen microbial composition of late lactation dairy cows grazing perennial ryegrass only (PRG; n = 20) or perennial ryegrass and white clover (WCPRG; n = 19) swards, was characterised using 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing. PERMANOVA analysis indicated diet significantly altered the composition of the rumen microbiome (P = 0.024). Subtle shifts in the relative abundance of 14 bacterial genera were apparent between diets, including an increased relative abundance of Lachnospira (0.04 vs. 0.23%) and Pseudobutyrivibrio (1.38 vs. 0.81%) in the WCPRG and PRG groups, respectively. The composition of the archaeal community was altered between dietary groups, with a minor increase in the relative abundance of Methanosphaera in the WCPRG observed. Results from this study highlight the potential for sward type to influence the composition of the rumen microbial community.
- Applied microbiology