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South East Prime Livestock Achievers
Trial to test/demonstrate the effects of green feed (particularly Lucerne) during mating on conception rate in sheep
(as at 26th January 2013)
Would you like to increase your conception rates?
Have you tried grazing Lucerne or other green feed in summer and not sure if it had the expected effects? Perhaps this trial opportunity is for you …
The national EverGraze Team and the BESTWOOL/BESTLAMB Program, though Vic DPI, are looking for a South Australian site on which to validate the impact of short-term flushing of ewes with Lucerne pasture on commercial farms.
We have been approached to find a South Australian site. You would need to be able to commit at least 600 ewes (Merino or Crossbred/Composite) to the trial (300 in each of two groups – Lucerne grazed and a control group grazed on your ‘typical’ pasture).
The trial would run for 2 years starting with mating this year between now and April. Site work would involve the following:
- visit from the site coordinator to help weigh and tag all trial ewes (4 weeks prior to mating)
- another visit 1 week prior to mating to weigh and condition score all ewes and to split into their treatment groups and assess pasture conditions
- third visit 1 week into joining to weigh again and combine treatment groups back into one mob and assess pasture conditions
- fourth visit at end of joining to weigh all trial ewes and inspect and record paddock conditions
- a final visit at day 85-90 from start of joining to pregnancy scan all trial ewes
Recent research has shown short-term flushing of ewes on Lucerne pasture to increase ovulation rate by 10-20%. This project aims to understand the impact on conception of grazing Lucerne or other summer active plants or lupins for 2 weeks at the beginning of joining. Results will allow producers to make more informed decisions for the allocation of existing feed sources. Previous research undertaken at Charles Sturt University as part of the Future Farm Industries EverGraze project has shown responses in conception rates to grazing lucerne at joining.
Further research will also be conducted at Charles Sturt University into the impact of grazing Lucerne on early embryo mortality. That research will demonstrate the impact on conception if ewes are grazed on Lucerne for the entire joining period rather than grazing for 2 weeks at the beginning of joining as in the on-farm trial proposed here.
If you are interested in participating in this trial please get in touch with Nick Edwards on 0429-660067 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you interested in (or planning) some pasture renovation and have an issue you would like addressed?
There is the opportunity for a MacKillop member to conduct pasture trials on their property. Please contact a SEPLA or MFMG Committee member