Farm Table says:
What was the problem?
This research took place in New Zealand at Massey Univerity’s Keeble Farm. The objective was to “compare the carcass characteristics of lambs that were on either a perennial ryegrass-based pasture or herb-clover mixes and weaned at either 8 weeks or 15 weeks of age.”
What did the research involve?
Ewes and twin lambs (at least 16kg) allocated to three groups:
- Lambs with dams on ryegrass-white clover pasture until 15 weeks (GRASS)
- Lambs with dams on herb-clover mixes (plaintain, chicory, red and white clovers) (HERB)
- Lambs weaned early (8 weeks) onto herb-clover mixes and dams on GRASS pasture (EARLY)
What were the key findings?
- ADG, soft-tissue depth and muscularity of lambs in EARLY and GRASS lower than HERB
- Lambs weaned early onto herb-clover mixes had lower growth rates than the lambs not weaned early on herb-clover mixes.
Lambs can be weaned at 8 weeks of age onto herb-clover mixes to achieve similar carcass characteristics compared to lambs weaned at 15 weeks of age on GRASS pasture.