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Effect of two contrasting ryegrass varieties and their management on the performance of finishing lambs

  • C. L. Marley (a1), W. J. Fisher (a1), D. W. R. Davies (a1), J. M. Moorby (a1), J. C. MacRae (a1) and M. K. Theodorou (a1)...

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Perennial ryegrass varieties bred to express high water-soluble carbohydrate (WSC) concentrations have been shown to improve liveweight gain in pre-weaned lambs of grazing ewes (Lee et al., 2001) compared to conventional ryegrass. Studies have shown that the largest differential in WSC between ryegrass varieties bred for high WSC concentrations and control ryegrasses occurs 5-6 weeks after the plant is allowed to re-grow following cutting or grazing (Miller et al., 2001). Therefore, the benefits, in terms of lamb performance, of using these grasses with high WSC concentrations may be best achieved when they are rotationally rather than continuously grazed. The aim of this experiment was to compare lambs rotationally or continuously grazing either a ryegrass variety bred for high WSC concentrations or a control ryegrass.

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Lee, M. R. F., Jones, E. L., Moorby, J. M., Humphreys, M. O., Theodorou, M. K., MacRae, J. C. and Scollan, N. D., 2001. Production responses from lambs grazed on Lolium perenne selected for an elevated water-soluble carbohydrate concentration. Animal Research, 50, 441449.
Miller, L. A., Moorby, J. M., Davies, D. R., Humphreys, M. O., Scollan, N. D., MacRae, J. C. and Theodorou, M. K., 2001. Increased concentration of water-soluble carbohydrate in perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.): milk production from late-lactation dairy cows. Grass and Forage Science, 56, 383394.

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