Producers are losing their competitiveness in the global lamb and mutton markets. Reliance on feedlot infrastructure results in high input costs compared to market price, lowering overall production profits.
Objectives: 1) To develop a model of low-input, pasture-based lamb feeding and finishing that other producers can repeat, 2) to identify sire lines with superior ability to gain on forage as well as reduce reliance on anthelmintics and antibiotics, and 3) to produce lamb with high consumer acceptability.
The producer seeded his pastures with crabgrass, annual ryegrass and legumes. He also installed electric, woven wire perimeter fencing and two-wire electric tape for cross fencing, excluding ponds and a creek. Sheep get water from underground pipelines and livestock wells.
Katahdin ewes and lambs were separated into flocks by age, and the flocks were rotated through the paddocks.
Results: The project was extended one year due to drought and to collect gain and parasitic resistance data on whethers versus ramlambs.