More lucerne reduces feeding in drought years and increases the weight of lamb sold in wet summers

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Abstract

This study examined whether increasing the proportion of farm area sown to lucerne, rather than perennial grass pastures, from 20 to 40% would increase production and gross margins. A replicated experiment was conducted between 2006 and 2010 in south-eastern NSW using September-lambing Merino ewes producing Merino and crossbred lambs. The higher level of lucerne did not increase wool or lamb production in most years, but reduced supplementary feeding in drought years. In a year with high summer rainfall, a larger area of lucerne increased (P <0.05) lamb sold by 168 kg/ha. Gross margins were relatively similar in drought years, but in a wet summer more lucerne increased gross margins by 87%. This study suggests that 40% rather than 20% lucerne does not have an adverse effect on production in drought years, and that in years with high rainfall over summer the additional lucerne can be used to achieve a large increase in production of sheep enterprises that are capable of utilising the additional feed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages132-134
Number of pages3
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventAnnual Grasslands Conference - Wagga Wagga, Australia
Duration: 24 Jul 201226 Jul 2012

Conference

ConferenceAnnual Grasslands Conference
CountryAustralia
Period24/07/1226/07/12

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