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Title: Feed and Fodder
Issue Date: Apr-2005
Publisher: CSIR
Abstract: Birdsfoot trefoil, Lotus corniculatus Linn. is a forage adapted to a variety of soil types. There is considerable interest in New Zealand in the pastoral value of Birdsfoot trefoil (BFT) for dryland farming areas, where other legumes and grasses have reduced productivity in summer/autumn due to drought conditions and to reduced soil fertility in hill country. Birdsfoot trefoil contains a low concentration of condensed tannins (CT), 20–40g/kg DM, which bind leaf protein after mastication. In grazing sheep, the action of the CT in BFT has increased wool growth by up to (11%) during summer, milk yield (21%) during mid and late lactation and both ovulation rate (27%) during mating and lambing percentage (20%). Experimental evidence suggests that CT have the potential to control parasite infections and reduce dag formation (accumulation of faeces in the wool surrounding the anus), which could potentially lead to reduced use of anthelmintics to control parasites. Additionally, relative to perennial ryegrass, growth of sheep was higher (35%) when grazing BFT. However, there was no evidence to support CT making a positive contribution to this effect, as judged by the level of response to polyethylene glycol (PEG) supplementation. Thus Rami’rez-Restrepo and others in New Zealand carried out studies to assess the effect of feeding L. corniculatus on sustainable productivity of lactating Ewes (female sheep) in the spring under commercial dryland farming conditions without the use of anthelmintic drenches, using a system approach, where effects on animal productivity and parasites were measured in the same experiment. Two grazing experiments were conducted for 12 and 13 weeks, respectively, over the spring periods of 2000 and 2001 at Massey University's Riverside farm in the Wairarapa (New Zealand) to compare effects of grazing L. corniculatus (cv. ‘Grasslands Goldie’) or Perennial Ryegrass (Lolium perenne Linn.)/White clover (Trifolium repens Linn.) dominant pasture during lactation on Ewe and Lamb live weight (LW), wool production, faecal nematode egg counts (FEC) and dag score. Ewes and their lambs (mainly twins) were rotationally grazed on Lotus or pasture (n = 50) without any anthelmintic treatment at a herbage allowance of 6.5 and 8.0 kg green DM/Ewe/days for experiments 1 and 2, respectively.
Page(s): 130
ISSN: 0975-1092 (Online); 0972-592X (Print)
Appears in Collections:NPR Vol.4(2) [March-April 2005]

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