An evaluation of soy-beans as a supplement for the wintering of woolled sheep on sour veld.
The value of soy-beans as a supplement for woolled sheep on winter veld was investigated in the south-eastern Transvaal Highveld. Döhne merino ewes were randomly divided into five groups of 25 sheep each in a two-way classification analysis of variance and were grazed on veld throughout the winter. Untreated whole soy-beans were supplemented to supply, nil; 18,5; 37 and 55,5 g crude protein per sheep daily (Treatments S0, S1, S2 and S3 respectively). Fish meal was also included in an additional treatment (Treatment V) to supply 37 g of crude protein per sheep daily. The mass changes of Treatments S0, S1, S2 and S3 and V were – 25,0; -10,4; -1,1; +2,2 and -0,2% respectively. It is evident that sheep cannot be wintered successfully on veld in this area without supplementation. A daily crude protein intake of 37 g per sheep was sufficient for the maintenance of mass throughout the winter. Compared with the control group, increases in clean wool production were 34,8; 42,0; 40,9 and 82,9% for treatments S1, S2, S3 and V respectively. After the winter treatments, no differences were observed in the occurrence of oestrus and in the subsequent conception rate of the ewes.