Ecotain® - The Environmental Plantain

Ecotain® is an excellent example of a high quality, productive forage plantain - that can reduce N leaching from the urine patch by up to 89%, depending on sward blend*

Accurate application of nitrogen fertiliser and responsible spreading of livestock manures assist in reducing the amount of N entering groundwater, but by far the majority of N leaching comes from the urine patch.

Up to 90% of the N leached to groundwater originates from the urine patch

To date, controlling the N in the urine patch has been difficult and reducing the N fertiliser application rate has been seen as the most practical solution. Managing N losses from livestock systems better is a major issue going forward, and Ecotain® provides a simple and sustainable forage solution for farmers. Ecotain® stacks up in all environmental and agronomic aspects. Ecotain® is an excellent example of a high quality, productive forage plantain.


  • Suitable as a 2-3 year crop option
  • Positive impact on milk production when grass quality drops in summer
  • Also ideal for undersowing or broadcasting on to damaged pasture
  • Can be grazed to deliver 100% of the diet

Dry Matter Performance

  • Very similar DM quantity and quality to ryegrass pasture
  • Can add value in terms of both drymatter and quality to any farming system
  • Contributes invaluable DM production, typically at times of the year when ryegrass and other species, e.g. white clover, are not performing

Benefits to adding Ecotain®

  • HUGE REDUCTION in N leaching from the urine patch - up to 89% depending on sward blend*
  • A natural, environmentally friendly forage solution to mitigate N leaching
  • Increases feed quality and/or supply during summer and autumn
  • Improves speed of sward recovery after summer dry
  • Improves cool season activity of pasture base
  • An ideal source of minerals for animal health and performance

* Seen using 42% Ecotain, 20% IRG, 28% W.C.

Nitrogen Management with the Power of 4

Ecotain® combines not one, but four modes of action that work together to significantly reduce N leaching from the urine patch.

DILUTE: Ecotain® environmental plantain has diuretic properties which increases urine volume and therefore decreases urinary N concentration. Animals urinate more frequently which spreads the urine patch across a greater area. In addition Ecotain® generally has a higher water content than ryegrass – which also increases the volume of urine the animals produce and further dilutes the N content.

REDUCE: Typically, the more N contained in the feed, the more N is present in the urine and is recycled back into the soil via urine. However, Ecotain® is different in that it reduces the total amount of dietary N being excreted in the urine, compared to ryegrass diets. Studies show that at equal N intake, Ecotain® diets will result in less total N released in urine compared to ryegrass diets.

DELAY: Urine patches from animals represent up to 90% of the N lost through leaching in the grazing system. The amount of N in a typical urine patch far exceeds what plants are able to uptake. Using Ecotain®, the N excreted in urine becomes slow release – its conversion from ammonium to nitrate is delayed, allowing plants a longer period to uptake N which therefore reduces the risk of N leaching. 

RESTRICT: When planted as a mono-culture, or in combination with ryegrass, the presence of Ecotain® growing in the soil reduces nitrification, likely through the effect of a biological nitrification inhibitor. Trials have shown that when combined with Italian ryegrass which is excellent for taking up soil N, reductions in N leaching of up to 89% from the urine patch have been recorded.


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Agricultural & Specialist Seeds Team:

Telephone: 01506 894820

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High milk or meat yields are essential for running a profitable farm. The key to this is to keep your herds well fed with home-grown forage. With best in class ForageMax mixtures you increase the nutritional value of your forage and silage.

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HF Seeds has been at the forefront of seed breeding technology for over 60 years. This long and successful pedigree has grown over the years as generations of farming families come to trust the HF Seeds brand as the foremost range of grass mixtures that are available.

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We're not just about grass at DLF. We supply a range of other feed and commercial crops that support farm profitability. Your Countryside is our diverse range of species and choice of specialist mixtures, bringing Game Cover, Environmental Stewardship, Root Crops and Cover Crops, together in one comprehensive catalogue.

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