Effects of feeding different ensiled forages on the productivity and nutrient-use efficiency of finishing lambs

Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalGrass and Forage Science
Issue number1
Early online date07 Feb 2007
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007
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The effects of offering ensiled red clover (Trifolium pratense), lucerne (Medicago sativa), pea (Pisum sativum), kale (Brassica oleracea) and hybrid ryegrass (Lolium hybridicum) on the productivity and nutrient-use efficiency of lambs were investigated. Forages were cut, wilted for 24 h and ensiled as round bales. A hundred Suffolk-cross lambs, aged 8 months, were offered grass silage during a 5-week standardization period and then group-housed for 14 d and offered ad libitum access to a treatment silage. For the measurement period, lambs were split into four replicate groups of five lambs per treatment. Dry matter intake and live weight were recorded every 7 d over 56 d. The chemical composition of the silages differed for all the variables measured. Lambs offered pea silage had a very low liveweight gain and this treatment was discontinued after 21 d. Lambs offered the other forages had a higher liveweight gain than lambs offered ryegrass silage (P <0Æ001). Food conversion and nitrogen-use efficiency were higher in lambs offered the red clover, lucerne and kale silages compared with those offered ensiled ryegrass (P <0Æ001). These findings demonstrate the potential for using ensiled alternative forages rather than ryegrass to increase the productivity and nutrient use efficiency of livestock systems