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Concentrates based on sorghum grain provide a basis for a finishing system for crossbred lambs

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Bowen, M. K., Pepper, P. M., Winkleman, J. and McConnel, I. (2007) Concentrates based on sorghum grain provide a basis for a finishing system for crossbred lambs. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 47 (11). pp. 1317-1325.


Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/EA06189

Publisher URL: http://www.publish.csiro.au/


In parts of Australia, sorghum grain is a cheaper alternative to other cereal grains but its use and nutritive value in sheep feeding systems is not well understood. The aim of this work was to compare growth and carcass characteristics for crossbred lambs consuming several simple, sorghum-based diets. The treatments were: (1) whole sorghum grain, (2) whole sorghum grain + urea and ammonium sulfate, (3) cracked sorghum grain + urea and ammonium sulfate, (4) expanded sorghum grain + urea and ammonium sulfate, (5) whole sorghum grain + cottonseed meal, and (6) whole sorghum grain + whole cottonseed. Nine lambs were slaughtered initially to provide baseline carcass data and the remaining 339 lambs were gradually introduced to the concentrate diets over 14 days before being fed concentrates and wheaten hay ad libitum for 41, 56 or 76 days.

Neither cracking nor expanding whole sorghum grain with added non-protein nitrogen (N) resulted in significantly (P > 0.05) increased final liveweight, growth rates or carcass weights for lambs, or in decreased days on feed to reach 18-kg carcass weight, although carcass fat depth was significantly (P < 0.05) increased compared with the whole sorghum plus non-protein N diet. However, expanding sorghum grain significantly (P < 0.05) reduced faecal starch concentrations compared with whole or cracked sorghum diets with added non-protein N (79 v. 189 g/kg DM after 59 days on feed). Lambs fed whole sorghum grain without an additional N source had significantly (P < 0.05) lower concentrate intake and required significantly (P < 0.05) more days on feed to reach a carcass weight of 18 kg than for all diets containing added N. These lambs also had significantly (P < 0.05) lower carcass weight and fat depth than for lambs consuming whole sorghum plus true protein diets. Substituting sources of true protein (cottonseed meal and whole cottonseed) for non-protein N (urea and ammonium sulfate) did not significantly (P > 0.05) affect concentrate intakes or carcass weights of lambs although carcass fat depth was significantly (P < 0.05) increased and the days to reach 18-kg carcass weight were significantly (P < 0.05) decreased for the whole sorghum plus cottonseed meal diet.

In conclusion, processing sorghum grain by cracking or expanding did not significantly improve lamb performance. While providing an additional N source with sorghum grain significantly increased lamb performance, there was no benefit in final carcass weight of lambs from substituting sources of true protein for non-protein N.

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.
Keywords:Sheep feeding systems; sorghum-based diets; growth rates; carcass weights.
Subjects:Animal culture > Sheep > Meat production
Animal culture > Feeds and feeding. Animal nutrition
Live Archive:09 Apr 2010 03:08
Last Modified:21 Dec 2021 02:32

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