Winter cereal pasture and Eragrostis curvula hay for fat lamb production

Author: N.J. Fair & J. Reyneke
Year: 1972
Issue: 2
Volume: 2
Page: 79 - 83

The utilization of winter cereal pasture was investigated using Dohne Merino ewes. They were grazed for two hours per day on pasture and in addition were fed 0,46 kg of E. curvula hay. Weaning at eight weeks was compared with weaning at slaughter mass (32 kg) and restricted supplementary concentrate feeding of lambs was compared with ad lib. feeding. An economical alternative feed to cereal pasture was sought by using E. curvula hay of good quality, supplemented and unsupplemented with concentrates, together with the same weaning and supplementary feeding treatments of lambs as adopted in the pasture groups. Early weaning and restriction of supplementary feeding of lambs on pasture resulted in greatest profits. E. curvula hay was found to be a highly satisfactory substitute for cereal pasture when early weaning and ad lib. lamb concentrate feeding was practised. Supplementing of ewes in the E. curvula groups with concentrates during the first weeks of lactation reduced lamb profits. Oestrus activity of ewes was not suppressed by lactation in the pasture groups, which were gaining mass, but was markedly reduced in E. curvula hay groups, which were losing mass. The interaction between lactation and nutrition on oestrus was clearly illustrated.


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