Long-term liming regime increases prime lamb production on acid soils

Gong Chen, Guangdi Li, Mark Conyers, Brian Cullis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Prime lamb live-weight response to lime application on pasture was measured in a grazing experiment in the high rainfall zone of the south-western slopes of New South Wales, Australia. The pastures were limed every 6 years over 15 years. First cross South African Meat Merinos (SAMM) lambs were used as test animals. Pre- and post-grazing pasture dry matter (DM) yield, botanical composition, feed quality, and lamb live weight were monitored over 12 weeks in 2007. Results showed that liming significantly increased pasture DM yield of high-quality species and improved overall pasture quality due to increased digestibility and metabolic energy content. As a result, the limed perennial and annual pastures carried 24.0% (3.6 lambs ha-1) and 29.0% (4.4 lambs ha-1) more stock than the unlimed perennial and annual pastures, respectively. Averaged across pasture types, the limed pastures produced 30.6% (131 kg ha-1) more lamb live-weight gain than the unlimed pastures over 12 weeks. The live-weight gain varied between grazing cycles depending on the availability of feed-on-offer and feed quality which were closely related to the rainfall pattern. The perennial pastures did not show any advantage in animal production over annual pastures during the experimental period due to lack of moisture in the deep soil profile because of severe drought in the previous year. More seasons with normal or above average rainfall are needed to compare animal production on perennial pastures and annual pastures to show the advantage of perennial pastures on animal production.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-234
Number of pages14
JournalExperimental Agriculture
Volume45
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009

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