Journal of the Department of Agriculture, Western Australia, Series 4


Trifolium subterraneum, Plant oestrogens, Sheep, Female infertility, Reproductive performance

First Page Number


Last Page Number



Some varieties of subterranean clover, notably Dinninup, Dwalganup and Yarloop, contain compounds which act like the female sex hormone oestrogen. These plant oestrogens, or "phyto-oestrogens", interfere with the fertility of sheep and depress the percentage of lambs born.

Over the past 10 years our understanding of clover infertility has increased, and we can now gauge the extent of this residual problem. In fact, there is a widespread but low-level incidence of infertility which does not greatly affect individial farms but which has an important impact on the State's sheep production.