Two studies were carried out, over consecutive summers, to examine the effect of lamb sex and initial live weight on liveweight gain when grazing a grass-based sward (undeveloped hill country pasture) or a plantain-clover mix (plantain, red clover and white clover sown on cultivatable hill country). There were no interactions (P>0.05) between the sex of the lamb, initial live weight or forage type on lamb liveweight gain. In year 1, ewe lambs grew at a slower rate than wethers (169 vs 181 g/day; P<0.01), but there was no difference between the two sexes in year 2 (P>0.05). In both years lambs with a lighter initial liveweight profile were also lighter (P<0.001) at the end of the study, but there was no difference (P>0.05) in the liveweight gains of the light and heavy lambs. In both years lambs grazing the plantain-clover mix grew 47-141 g/day faster than did lambs grazing the grass-based sward (P<0.001). This indicates that the plantain-clover mix can be utilised for a range of lamb classes, with similar positive results.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 78, Rotorua, 199-203, 2018
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