txaa160.pdf (251.38 kB)

Plantain (Plantago lanceolata) reduces the environmental impact of farmed red deer (Cervus elaphus)

Download (251.38 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-03, 20:20 authored by Matt Beck, Konagh Garrett, Bryan ThompsonBryan Thompson, David StevensDavid Stevens, Graham Barrell, Pablo Gregorini
The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of plantain (Plantago lanceolata L.) on water dynamics and balance, as well as nitrogen (N) excretion by red deer (Cervus elaphus L.) as a potential forage tool to reduce negative environmental impacts. This experiment used a crossover design with red deer (n = 8) in metabolism crates to determine how fresh-cut herbage diets of either plantain or ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) compared in terms of dry matter intake (DMI), diet digestibility, water dynamics, and N dynamics. Deer consuming plantain had greater water intake from herbage (P < 0.01) compared with ryegrass. Additionally, when fed plantain, deer had greater water excretion from urine (P < 0.01; 69.4%) and feces (P < 0.01; 29.4%) and, thus, total water excretion (P < 0.01; 61.7%) than when fed ryegrass. When consuming plantain, deer had greater DMI (P = 0.02; +11.2%) and fecal output (P < 0.01; +36.8%) and lower apparent dry matter digestibility (P = 0.03; −8.3%) compared with ryegrass. Plantain (15.9%) contained 30% less crude protein than ryegrass (22.8%) so that even with the greater DMI of plantain, plantain had lower (P < 0.01; −23%) N intake (g/d). Deer consuming plantain had lower urine N concentration (P < 0.01) than when consuming ryegrass. Additionally, deer consuming plantain had much less daily urine N (P < 0.01; −34.9%) excretions. Our results indicate deer fed plantain had greater DMI, ingested more water, and excreted more water than those consuming ryegrass, with lower urinary N (UN) concentration and lesser daily urine N excretion. Thus, we conclude that offering red deer plantain may reduce the environmental impact associated with UN output, such as nitrate leaching or N2O emissions to the atmosphere.


Rights statement

© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Society of Animal Science. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


  • English

Does this contain Māori information or data?

  • No


Oxford University Press

Journal title

Translational Animal Science




Beck, M. R., Garrett, K., Thompson, B. R., Stevens, D. R., Barrell, G. K., & Gregorini, P. (2020). Plantain (Plantago lanceolata) reduces the environmental impact of farmed red deer (Cervus elaphus). Translational Animal Science, 4(3), txaa160. doi:10.1093/tas/txaa160

Usage metrics


    Ref. manager