A recent trial using Sinclair McGill (Limagrain) seed, performed by University College Dublin (UCD), has shown fascinating results regarding multispecies mixtures. The three-year trial looked at dry matter yields, fertiliser use, lamb live weight gain and lamb finishing time, comparing monocultures and multi-species mixtures. Monocultures of perennial ryegrass (PRG) with two different quantities of nitrogen applied (250kg/ha and 90kg/ha) were used in the trial, along with a PRG and white clover mix, which also received 90kg/ha of N, a simplex mix consisting of 3 grasses and 3 legumes and finally a complex mix with at least 3 species each of grasses, legumes and herbs.
- When 90kg/ha of N was applied to both the simplex and complex mixtures, they out-yielded the PRG monoculture receiving 250kg/ha of N.
Twin suckling ewes were stocked at 12.5 ewes per hectare, with lambs being slaughtered at 45kgs.
- Lambs grazing on simplex and complex pastures were heavier at 6 weeks and at weaning compared with lambs that had grazed the monoculture of PRG and PRG with clover
- Simplex and complex grazed lambs were slaughtered 2 weeks earlier than those grazing the PRG sward with 250kg/ha of N applied and 1 week earlier compared with the PRG and white clover sward
- It was seen that ewes maintained a better body condition on mixed swards
- Less requirement for anthelmintic use on mixed swards
As a result of this trial, Sinclair McGill (Limagrain) have formulated ‘Lambtastic’, adapting the work done by Cropmark in New Zealand by including the deep rooting Forage Chicory and Plantain which both have positive attributes for finishing lambs. It has been reported by customers that ewes and lambs take a while to acclimatise to the inclusion of chicory and plantain, but find that it is very palatable and is well grazed by them. Lambtastic contains Matrix Enhanced® Ryegrass, Timothy and Early Perennial Ryegrass to ensure that the sward gets an early start in the spring for early lambing and remains productive throughout the summer and well into the Autumn. Lambtastic can be utilised by all classes of livestock.
John Powell of Pant-y-Beili, Llangynidr commented that grazing Lambtastic has almost eliminated his concentrate use to get his lambs up to their target weights and that lambs have a lovely bloom to them when finished on this mixture.
A study on the use of Mineral Boluses versus TendaHealth by a local vet
A group of 300 lambs were split into equal groups of condition, weight and sex.
Each group were then treated with the relevant treatment:
1. TendaHealth drench
3. Control Group (untreated)
Every 4 weeks all lambs were weighed and the weights recorded against each category. The lambs dosed with the TendaHealth drench out performed both the Control Group and Bolus Group. The cost of dosing lambs with Tendahealth is between 17.5p and 34p per lamb per month.
The TendaHealth treated lambs also had lower foetal egg counts.