Premium lamb production of South African sheep breed types under feedlot conditions

Author: D.A. van der Merwe, T.S. Brand & L.C. Hoffman
Year: 2020
Issue: 4
Volume: 50
Page: 578 - 587

An increasing number of producers opt to finish their lambs in on-farm feedlots. Therefore, detailed production information is required to implement precision finishing of lambs of different genotypes. Precision finishing monitors growth, feed intake and efficiency to optimize management. In this study, feedlot production characteristics of Dohne Merino, Dormer, Dorper, Meatmaster, Merino, Namaqua Afrikaner, and South African Mutton Merino (SAMM) lambs were evaluated. The lambs were reared in a feedlot and fed a diet with 10.41 MJ metabolizable energy (ME)/kg feed and 19.06% crude protein. Feed intake and body weight were recorded weekly from an initial weight of 30 kg until they had the subcutaneous fat cover needed to produce an A2 carcass. Subcutaneous fat was measured on the Longissimus lumborum muscle with an ultrasound scanner. Dorper, Meatmaster and Namaqua Afrikaner had the shortest rearing periods in the feedlot, and were market ready at a lower live weight (P <0.05). As a result, these lambs consumed less feed in the feedlot. Namaqua Afrikaner and Merino lambs were least efficient: 7.08 and 5.63 kg feed/kg gain, respectively. Dohne Merino, Dormer, Dorper, and Meatmaster rams and Dorper ewes were more efficient; approximately 3.58 kg feed/kg gain. Dohne Merino and Dormer rams had the highest growth rates: approximately 465 g/day. The end weights described in this study could be used as an indication for producers of the ideal slaughter weights for breeds of different maturity types.

Keywords: Average daily gain, fat deposition, feed efficiency, rearing period
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