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Feeding potential of summer grain crop residues for wooled sheep in the south eastern transvaal highveld i. availability of crop residues and sheep mass changes

Feeding potential of summer grain crop residues for wooled sheep in the south eastern transvaal highveld i. availability of crop residues and sheep mass changes

South African Journal of Animal Science 21(3): 144-149

In a two-year study, the value of crop residues of lupins, dry beans, soybeans, sunflower, sorghum and maize wintering sheep was evaluated. The amounts of residues and weeds present at the start and end of grazing were estimated by means of quadrat samples. Maize cobs were picked up. Amount of residues and the ratio of grain to straw at the start of grazing differed in the two seasons and differences occurred between crops. Weeds were an important source of fee. The extent of utilization of total dry matter and individual components varied between crops and components. The crop residues were each grazed by 10 mature Dohne Merino wethers/ha. Midrib wool samples were collected in the second season. The sheep initially gained and then lost mass. They were removed from the trial when they had reached the starting mass. Sheep on dry, bean residues gained least during both seasons. Sheep on sorghum residues had the highest average ADG of 98 g over the two seasons, while sheep on soybean residues gained disappointingly with an ADG of only 47 g. Grazing periods differed between seasons. The total length of the grazing period was much the same between crops, except for dry beans where it was markedly shorter. Clean yield percentage was about 61% and did not differ between residues. The wool growth rate of sheep on all crops except on lupins was similar and varied for 0,24 to 0,28 g/d/100 cm2. Sheep on lupins had a wool growth rate of 0,53 g/d/100 cm2.

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