Low-input Pasture Finishing of Lambs

Project Overview

FNC99-265
Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 1999: $7,310.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/1999
Region: North Central
State: Missouri
Project Coordinator:

Commodities

  • Agronomic: corn
  • Animals: sheep

Practices

  • Animal Production: feed rations, grazing - rotational
  • Education and Training: demonstration, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research

    Summary:

    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.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.