Farm Table says:
What is the problem?
Sowing winter canola’s in spring in southern Australia’s high rainfall zone offers an opportunity to graze the forage during summer and autumn, before harvesting the canola as a seed/oil crop in its second spring. Grazing canola in summer and autumn provides feed of high nutritive value at a time when feed supply from pastures is often low and of poor quality.This research aims to compare the reproductive performance of ewe lambs grazed on seven forage treatments during joining in Autmun 2014.
What did the research involve?
Seven forage treatments were sown in spring 2013 in a randomised complete block design. The forage treatments were:
- Canola (cv. Hyola 971CL)
- Canola (cv. Taurus)
- Forage brassica (cv.Winfred)
- Lucerne (cv. StaminaGT6)
- Chicory (cv. Puna II)
- Plantain (cv. Tonic)
- Perennial ryegrass+pellet supplement (cv. Banquet II) (control).
The plots were grazed by 8-9 month old maternal composite ewe lambs for a four week pre-joining period (25th March-23rd April 2014) followed by a six week joining period (23rd April-5th June 2014) using natural mating with maternal composite rams.
What were the key findings?
- The canola did not differ (P>0.05) in feed on offer from the Winfred on any date, except for 17-Apr when the Taurus had lower (P<0.05) feed on offer than the Winfred but not the Hyola971CL.
- The canola varieties and the Winfred had higher (P<0.05) feed on offer levels than the lucerne, chicory and plantain on all sampling dates, except 5-May and 19-May.
Ewe lambs can be safely joined on brassica crops during autumn to produce a high reproductive rate than ewes being fed perennial ryegrass and pellet supplement.
Feed on offer and nutritive value of the canola cultivars were similar to Winfred forage brassica and consequently the liveweight gains and reproductive rate from ewes grazing canola were also similar to Winfred forage brassica.