Performance of sheep systems grazing perennial pastures. 1. Pasture persistence and enterprise productivity

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Abstract

Abstract. Sheep production can be optimised by matching the pasture supply curve to feed demand. This study evaluated the production from four management systems using different combinations of lambing time (winter, split or spring), ram breed (Merino vs Terminal), and percentage of summer-active pasture species (40 vs 20% lucerne), between 2006 and 2010 in southern New South Wales. All systems were stocked at a similar mid-winter dry sheep equivalent per hectare (8, 10.2, 13, 11.2 and 11.2 in 2006 to 2010, respectively), and there were three replicates of each system. Groundcover and pasture persistence were not adversely impacted by sheep system since sheep were removed at predetermined biomass triggers. Wool production per hectare was up to 178% (12 kg/ha) higher (P<0.001) in systems where a later month of lambing allowed an increase in ewe numbers per hectare at the same midwinter stocking rate. The quantity of lamb sold per hectare was not consistently higher in any one system, or systems producing crossbred compared with only Merino lambs, due to variation in the weight and age of lambs at sale, but was increased (P<0.001) by 175 kg/ha through use of 40% compared with 20% lucerne in a high rainfall year. The risk of requiring high levels of supplementary feeding was higher in systems with later lambing due to below average rainfall between 2006 and 2009. Large increases in production can be achieved from the same pasture base through choice of management system with different lambing time, stocking rate or ram breed, but flexibility is needed to optimise production in varying seasonal conditions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnimal Production Science
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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lambing
Sheep
pastures
grazing
sheep
lambs
Medicago sativa
Merino
rams
stocking rate
management systems
alfalfa
Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
breeds
rain
wool production
New South Wales
winter
Wool
Biomass

Cite this

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title = "Performance of sheep systems grazing perennial pastures. 1. Pasture persistence and enterprise productivity",
abstract = "Abstract. Sheep production can be optimised by matching the pasture supply curve to feed demand. This study evaluated the production from four management systems using different combinations of lambing time (winter, split or spring), ram breed (Merino vs Terminal), and percentage of summer-active pasture species (40 vs 20{\%} lucerne), between 2006 and 2010 in southern New South Wales. All systems were stocked at a similar mid-winter dry sheep equivalent per hectare (8, 10.2, 13, 11.2 and 11.2 in 2006 to 2010, respectively), and there were three replicates of each system. Groundcover and pasture persistence were not adversely impacted by sheep system since sheep were removed at predetermined biomass triggers. Wool production per hectare was up to 178{\%} (12 kg/ha) higher (P<0.001) in systems where a later month of lambing allowed an increase in ewe numbers per hectare at the same midwinter stocking rate. The quantity of lamb sold per hectare was not consistently higher in any one system, or systems producing crossbred compared with only Merino lambs, due to variation in the weight and age of lambs at sale, but was increased (P<0.001) by 175 kg/ha through use of 40{\%} compared with 20{\%} lucerne in a high rainfall year. The risk of requiring high levels of supplementary feeding was higher in systems with later lambing due to below average rainfall between 2006 and 2009. Large increases in production can be achieved from the same pasture base through choice of management system with different lambing time, stocking rate or ram breed, but flexibility is needed to optimise production in varying seasonal conditions.",
author = "Susan Robertson and John Broster and Michael Friend",
year = "2019",
language = "English",
journal = "Animal Production Science",
issn = "1836-0939",
publisher = "CSIRO Publishing",

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TY - JOUR

T1 - Performance of sheep systems grazing perennial pastures. 1. Pasture persistence and enterprise productivity

AU - Robertson, Susan

AU - Broster, John

AU - Friend, Michael

PY - 2019

Y1 - 2019

N2 - Abstract. Sheep production can be optimised by matching the pasture supply curve to feed demand. This study evaluated the production from four management systems using different combinations of lambing time (winter, split or spring), ram breed (Merino vs Terminal), and percentage of summer-active pasture species (40 vs 20% lucerne), between 2006 and 2010 in southern New South Wales. All systems were stocked at a similar mid-winter dry sheep equivalent per hectare (8, 10.2, 13, 11.2 and 11.2 in 2006 to 2010, respectively), and there were three replicates of each system. Groundcover and pasture persistence were not adversely impacted by sheep system since sheep were removed at predetermined biomass triggers. Wool production per hectare was up to 178% (12 kg/ha) higher (P<0.001) in systems where a later month of lambing allowed an increase in ewe numbers per hectare at the same midwinter stocking rate. The quantity of lamb sold per hectare was not consistently higher in any one system, or systems producing crossbred compared with only Merino lambs, due to variation in the weight and age of lambs at sale, but was increased (P<0.001) by 175 kg/ha through use of 40% compared with 20% lucerne in a high rainfall year. The risk of requiring high levels of supplementary feeding was higher in systems with later lambing due to below average rainfall between 2006 and 2009. Large increases in production can be achieved from the same pasture base through choice of management system with different lambing time, stocking rate or ram breed, but flexibility is needed to optimise production in varying seasonal conditions.

AB - Abstract. Sheep production can be optimised by matching the pasture supply curve to feed demand. This study evaluated the production from four management systems using different combinations of lambing time (winter, split or spring), ram breed (Merino vs Terminal), and percentage of summer-active pasture species (40 vs 20% lucerne), between 2006 and 2010 in southern New South Wales. All systems were stocked at a similar mid-winter dry sheep equivalent per hectare (8, 10.2, 13, 11.2 and 11.2 in 2006 to 2010, respectively), and there were three replicates of each system. Groundcover and pasture persistence were not adversely impacted by sheep system since sheep were removed at predetermined biomass triggers. Wool production per hectare was up to 178% (12 kg/ha) higher (P<0.001) in systems where a later month of lambing allowed an increase in ewe numbers per hectare at the same midwinter stocking rate. The quantity of lamb sold per hectare was not consistently higher in any one system, or systems producing crossbred compared with only Merino lambs, due to variation in the weight and age of lambs at sale, but was increased (P<0.001) by 175 kg/ha through use of 40% compared with 20% lucerne in a high rainfall year. The risk of requiring high levels of supplementary feeding was higher in systems with later lambing due to below average rainfall between 2006 and 2009. Large increases in production can be achieved from the same pasture base through choice of management system with different lambing time, stocking rate or ram breed, but flexibility is needed to optimise production in varying seasonal conditions.

M3 - Article

JO - Animal Production Science

JF - Animal Production Science

SN - 1836-0939

ER -