Farm Table says:
What is the problem?
This study aimed to uncover the potential of a new range of pastures species and cultivars through comparing the growth rates and final weights of White Dorper and crossbred lambs grazing them.
What did the research involve?
6 pasture treatments (0.4ha plots) were sown in April 2014 in a replicated complete block design.
• French serradella
• Bladder clover
• Forage brassica
• Lucerne + phalaris
• Arrowleaf clover + chicory
Each plot was grazed by 13 lambs between 15 October and 2 December (mean starting weight 32.2 kg; five White Dorper (Dorper), five White Suffolk x Merino (WSM) and three White Suffolk x White Dorper (WSD).
What were the key findings?
Findings were as follows:
• Lambs grazing the lucerne + phalaris and French serradella pastures reached maximum liveweight on 18 November
• Lambs grazing bladder clover reached maximum weight on 26 November and
• Lambs grazing forage brassica, chicory + arrowleaf clover and lucerne were still gaining weight at the conclusion of the experiment (2 December).
• Final liveweights were highest for lambs grazing the arrowleaf clover + chicory pasture.
The research concludes that pastures that allow high lamb growth rates in late-spring and early summer are likely to facilitate an increase in production for meat-based livestock systems.