Participatory research evaluating and demonstrating the impact of green feed (particularly Lucerne) on conception
|Project start date:||31 January 2013|
|Project end date:||30 November 2017|
|Publication date:||15 December 2017|
|Livestock species:||Sheep, Lamb|
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Agriculture Victoria in collaboration with MLA established a total of 32 commercial farm demonstrations sites in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia between 2013 and 2017. The project aimed to investigate the effects of short term flushing with green feed (including lucerne), or lupins, and long term flushing with lucerne on ewe conception (ewes pregnant / 100 ewes joined) and reproductive rates (lambs scanned / 100 ewes joined) compared to ewes grazing typical dry pasture traditionally used at individual demonstration sites. Over 22,000 crossbred, composite or merino ewes (n=600-900 per demonstration site) were joined between late December and March for an autumn/winter lambing.
The ewes were divided randomly between the following treatments.
Phase 1 (2013-2014): (1) control; graze typical dry pasture available throughout joining; (2) short flush; graze any green feed one week prior to joining and one week into joining; (3) control plus lupins; graze typical dry pasture plus supplement with lupins for one week prior to joining and one week into joining.
Phase 2 (2015-2017): (1) control; graze typical dry pasture available throughout joining; (2) short flush; graze lucerne one week prior to joining and one week into joining; (3) long flush; graze lucerne one week prior to joining until the end of joining or for a minimum of five weeks.
This project showed that flushing ewes by providing a green feed one week prior to joining and one week into joining can improve lambing percentage through an increase in multiple ovulations and ewes pregnant. The information obtained suggests there is no negative impact on ewe reproductive efficiency when grazing on lucerne throughout joining compared to a short flush or grazing on typical dry pasture.
|Project manager:||Richard Apps|
|Primary researcher:||Department of Economic Development|