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Publication - Professor Michael Lee

    Livestock performance for sheep and cattle grazing lowland permanent pasture

    Benchmarking potential of forage-based systems

    Citation

    Orr, RJ, Griffith, BA, Rivero, MJ & Lee, MR, 2019, ‘Livestock performance for sheep and cattle grazing lowland permanent pasture: Benchmarking potential of forage-based systems’. Agronomy, vol 9.

    Abstract

    Here we describe the livestock performance and baseline productivity over a two-year period, following the establishment of the infrastructure on the North Wyke Farm Platform across its three farmlets (small farms). Lowland permanent pastures were continuously stocked with yearling beef cattle and ewes and their twin lambs for two years in three farmlets. The cattle came into the farmlets as suckler-reared weaned calves at 195 ± 32.6 days old weighing 309 ± 45.0 kg, were housed indoors for 170 days then turned out to graze weighing 391 ± 54.2 kg for 177 days. Therefore, it is suggested for predominantly grass-based systems with minimal supplementary feeding that target live weight gains should be 0.5 kg/day in the first winter, 0.9 kg/day for summer grazing and 0.8 kg/day for cattle housed and finished on silage in a second winter. The sheep performance suggested that lambs weaned at 100 days and weighing 35 kg should finish at 200 days weighing 44 to 45 kg live weight with a killing out percentage of 44%. Good levels of livestock production are possible with grass and forage-based systems using little or no additional supplementary concentrate feeds.

    Full details in the University publications repository