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The effects of molasses inclusion level on the cleanliness and performance of early-weaned Texel cross lambs

  • T. M. Boland (a1), N. Keane (a1), J. J. Callan (a1), P.J. Quinn (a1) and T.F. Crosby (a1)...

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The production of early-weaned lamb is a high cost production system with the major cost being the concentrate consumed by the lamb. However the transformation of concentrate to weight gain is more efficient when the concentrate is fed to the lamb directly rather than fed to the dam and the lamb avails of the mother’s milk. This type of finishing system requires a lamb with a high lean proportion in the carcass, a trait that characterises Texel cross lambs. Molasses, a by-product of the sugar processing industry, is high in soluble carbohydrates and is a common ingredient in commercial animal feed formulations. Inclusion levels in excess of 10% have been reported to cause excessive stickiness of the feed (Ewing, 1997). Molasses based diets increase propionic acid concentrations in sheep (Cortez et al., 1987), which promotes soft carcass fat (Bozzolo et al., 1990). The objective of this experiment was to determine the optimum inclusion rate of molasses in the diet of early-weaned lambs, based on growth rate, lamb cleanliness and carcass characteristics.

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Bozzolo, G., Bouillier, O.M., Boissesson, E.D., Ghassan, M. and Grasset, D. 1990. Effect of performance on characteristics of adipose tissue of lambs weaned early and given a concentrate high in energy. Annales de Zootechnie 39: 7794
Cortez, F.C., Peiris, H., Blinks, L. and Elliot, R. 1987. Species differences between ruminants in susceptibility to molasses toxicity. In Recent Advances in Animal Nutrition in Australia (ed. Farrell, D.J.), pp 99103.
Ewing, W.N. 1997. The Feeds Directory. Volume 1: Commodity Products. pp 17 & 69.

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