The effect of grazing high-sugar ryegrass on lamb performance

LE Proctor, HJB Craig, NJ Mclean, PF Fennessy , JI Kerslake , MJ Behrent, JCL Chuah, and AW Campbell - Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production 2015. Vol 75: 235-238

Type: Research Paper
Knowledge level: Advanced

Farm Table says:

It must be noted this experiment specifically evaluated a mix of AberMagic and AberDart high-sugar ryegrasses compared to Ceres One 50 ryegrass. It did not study persistence, nor is the breed of lamb known.

What is the problem?

A grazing study was undertaken on three commercial properties in the southern South Island of New Zealand to compare the performance of lambs grazing high-sugar ryegrass/white clover (HSG) with lambs grazing a standard ryegrass/white clover pasture (SRG).

What did the research involve?

Cultivars were established in late spring 2012. Pasture was allowed to recover to around 1,800 kg DM/ha before the commencement of grazing trials.

There were approximately 400 lambs in each treatment group per property. The swards were grazed in autumn 2013 and summer/autumn 2014 at a density of 30 to 35 lambs/ha.

Lambs were weighed regularly throughout the season and those that reached the desired weight were sent for slaughter.

What were the key findings?

  • Across both years and properties, lambs grazing the HSG pasture grew 31 grams per day faster (17%) on average than those grazing SRG.
  • These lambs were an average of 0.4 kg heavier in terms of carcass weight at slaughter,  yielding 0.2 kg more meat per carcass based on scanning data.
  • Significant performance advantages were found in lamb-finishing systems for the three farms for the cultivars evaluated.

Final Comment

This experiment has demonstrated that farmers may consider the use of HSG ryegrasses in their farming systems, especially those in the Southern region of New Zealand.

2015 - New Zealand - LE Proctor, HJB Craig, NJ Mclean, PF Fennessy , JI Kerslake , MJ Behrent, JCL Chuah, and AW Campbell - Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production 2015. Vol 75: 235-238
Read ArticleSave For Later

Related Resources