White clover has high nutritive value but the proportion in mixed pasture and therefore the diet, is often low. Offering sheep ryegrass and clover growing side-by-side, for short periods, increases the proportion of clover in the diet and daily intake compared to a mixed pasture. This experiment tested whether sheep offered ryegrass and clover side-by-side could sustain a high proportion of clover in their diet and a high daily intake, compared with sheep grazing ryegrass alone, clover alone and ryegrass and white clover growing as a mixed sward. Forty-eight dry, non-pregnant Romney ewes (56 ± 1.8kg live weight) were randomly allocated to four replicates (two spatial x two temporal) of each treatment (n=3) for 12 days. Average grazing time was 292 ± 16.2 min/day and did not differ significantly among treatments. Short-term intake rate on clover (5.0 g/min) was higher than ryegrass (3.5 g/min) (P=0.02). As a result, clover dominant diets supported higher daily intake (1.36 kg/d for clover alone vs. 1.08 kg/d for ryegrass alone). Sheep sustained a diet of 70% clover and 30% ryegrass, showing that predominance of clover in the diet was not a result of novelty. This improved daily intake would provide significant benefit to animal production systems and can be achieved simply by growing grass and clover separately.

DM, Marotti, GP Cosgrove, DF Chapman, AJ Parsons, AR Egan, and CB Anderson

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 62, Palmerston North, 163-166, 2002
Download Full PDF BibTEX Citation Endnote Citation Search the Proceedings

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.