Effects of early weaning onto herb-clover mixes on lamb carcass characteristics

New Zealand Journal of Animal Science and Production - HX Wong et al.

Type: Research Paper
Knowledge level: Advanced

Farm Table says:

What pasture are you weaning onto? You could do it earlier without any negative affects.

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.

Final comment

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.

2018 - New Zealand - New Zealand Journal of Animal Science and Production - HX Wong et al.
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