5 years ago

Measures of lamb production efficiency in a temperate grass-based system differing in ewe prolificacy potential and stocking rate.

McHugh, Creighton, Earle, Boland
The objective of this study was to quantify the effects of ewe prolificacy potential (PP; predicted number of lambs born ewe yr), as dictated by sire breed type, and stocking rate (SR; ewes ha) on ewe production efficiency (kg lamb live weight weaned:kg ewe live weight mated), lamb growth, lamb carcass output, and dry matter (DM; kg) and energy (UFL; unit of energy kg DM) consumption (in the form of both grazed and conserved herbage, concentrate supplementation, and total) in a temperate grass-based lamb production system. The study was a 2 × 3 factorial design, consisting of 2 differing ewe prolificacy potentials (medium prolificacy [MP]-Suffolk-sired crossbred ewes and high prolificacy [HP]-Belclare-sired crossbred ewes) and 3 stocking rates: low (LSR; 10 ewes ha), medium (MSR; 12 ewes ha), and high (HSR: 14 ewes ha). Each treatment was managed in a 5-paddock rotational system for the duration of the study. The HP treatment weaned more lambs ewe and ha ( < 0.01), yielded a higher average daily live weight gain (ADG) ha ( < 0.001), produced an additional 50 kg of lamb carcass ha ( < 0.05), and required 13% less DM and UFL to produce a kg of lamb carcass ( < 0.001) compared to the MP treatment. High prolificacy potential ewes had a 4% higher production efficiency ( < 0.05) than MP ewes. Ewe prolificacy potential had no effect on the total quantity of DM and UFL consumed ewe and lamb unit ( > 0.05). Increasing stocking rate increased the number of lambs weaned ha ( < 0.001) and increased lifetime lamb ADG ha ( < 0.001). Lamb carcass output (kg) ha was highest at the HSR, intermediate at the MSR, and lowest at the LSR ( < 0.001). The quantity of DM and UFL consumed ewe and lamb unit and kg of lamb carcass produced ha increased as stocking rate increased ( < 0.001). In conclusion, results from this study demonstrate HP ewes to be more efficient in the production of lamb. Increasing stocking rate provides the opportunity to increase lamb carcass output ha; however, achieving this increase in output required additional DM and UFL ewe and lamb unit above 12 ewes ha.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.2527/jas.2017.1427

DOI: 10.2527/jas.2017.1427

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