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The effect of different pasture management strategies in north-west Queensland on liveweight gain and wool growth rate of several groups of young sheep

Stephenson, R.G.A., Pritchard, D.A., Pepper, P. M. and Connelly, P.T. (1985) The effect of different pasture management strategies in north-west Queensland on liveweight gain and wool growth rate of several groups of young sheep. The Rangeland Journal, 7 (2). pp. 75-79.

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Article Link(s): https://doi.org/10.1071/RJ9850075

Publisher URL: https://www.publish.csiro.au/paper/RJ9850075

Abstract

The effect of three different pasture management strategies on liveweight gain and wool growth rate of young(weaner) sheep was examined immediately after weaning on Mitchell grass-Flinders grass pastures during the dry season of north-west Queensland. The pasture management strategies were designed to mimic various industry situations, while the performance of four different progeny groups was compared and used to provide an overall assessment of pasture quality. Pasture treatments (experiment 1) consisted of three paddocks, a harvested (c. 8% of pasture harvested and baled) and spelled, a spelled, and a continuously grazed paddock. Spelled paddocks were not grazed during and after the wet season for a period of six months while the continuously grazed paddock was continuously stocked before the experiment. Experiment 2 consisted of spelled and continuously grazed paddocks. Pastures were evaluated by measuring the changes in composition and quality (experiment 1) and the responses in liveweight gain (experiments 1 and 2) and wool growth of the weaners (experiment 1). Marked improvements (c. 100%) in weaner growth rates occurred in the spelled paddocks. Greasy wool production by three groups of ewes in experiment I was about 14% greater in the harvested paddock than in the others. At the start of the trial there were no significant differences in dry matter yield but a significant difference in botanical composition occurred between paddocks. The changes in dry matter that occurred between the beginning and end of grazing were not significantly different between paddocks. Before gazing, forbs made up approximately 16%, 4% and 1% of pastures in harvested, spelled and continuously grazed paddocks respectively. The change in the percentage forbs that occurred between the beginning and end of the grazing period was significantly greater in the harvested paddock than in the other paddocks indicating preferential selection and intake by sheep. The differences in weaner live weight and wool growth between paddocks suggest that paddock management can improve weaner productivity. The study also indicates that paddock management could be successfully used to increase the percentage of forbs and quality of the pasture during the dry season. The superior wool growth of two progeny groups also suggests that improved productivity of breeding flocks in the tropics is possible if superior sheep can be identified. The results highlight the importance of preferential management of pasture for weaners so that productivity advantages can be exploited.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Animal Science
Additional Information:Reproduced with permission from © CSIRO Publishing. Access to published version is available via Publisher’s website.
Subjects:Animal culture > Sheep
Animal culture > Rangelands. Range management. Grazing
Animal culture > Feeds and feeding. Animal nutrition
Animal culture > Sheep > Wool production
Deposited On:07 Jan 2021 00:27
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:46

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