Farm Table says:
This research was conducted as there are limited studies on feed budgeting with grazing crops for ewes in late pregnancy and lactation.
The key takeaways from this abstract include:
- Young crops are highly digestible (>80% dry matter digestibility, DMD) with a high energy density (>12 MJ/kg DM)
- Quality and time of feed availability also coincide with the high nutrient requirements of ewes in late pregnancy and lactation
- Much lower level of feed on offer than would be required with traditional pastures (<500 kg DM/ha) -> potential to increase whole-farm stocking rates and/or reduce fetal mortality, increase lamb birthweight and survival and improve lifetime production
- Pregnancy and lactation are also periods of increased susceptibility to metabolic disturbances. The composition of young crops increases this susceptibility. Most young crops (except canola) also have a tetany index >2.2, indicating a high risk of grass tetany
- Grazing young crops in areas with a history of selenium, copper, iodine and cobalt deficiency will increase susceptibility to deficiency by increasing growth and feed intake.