With high quality herbage from irrigated Nui ryegrass and Huia white clover pastures, supplemented with Matua prairie grass pasture, realised herbage allowances were considerably lower than current recommendations. Allowances were calculated from herbage on offer in a 10-paddock rotational grazed system, with no adjustment being made for herbage grown during the grazing period, and with grazing always to a residue of less than 300 kg DM/ha. An allowance of 1.7 kg DM/ewe/d at flushing provided for a live-weight gain of 3.3 kg over a 6 week period, an allowance of 2.35 kg DM/ewe/d during 90 days lactation supported twin lambs at a growth rate of 230 g/d; an allowance of 1.32 kg DM/d for weaned lambs supported a growth rate of 129 g/d during summer. These results were achieved in self-contained farmlets, with annual herbage production of 14 500 kg DM/ha, stocked with high fertility Coopworth ewes at 22/ha, and calculated to yield 670 kg lamb meat/ha (193% lambs surviving to sale at 33.0 kg live weight). Feed efficiency in this system reflects full utilisation of available herbage, thus never allowing dead material or seed heads to build up in the pasture.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 42, , 169-172, 1982
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