Publication Details

Chen, G., Li, G. D., Conyers, M. K. & Cullis, B. R. (2009). Long-term liming regime increases prime lamb production on acid soils. Experimental Agriculture, 45 (2), 221-234.


Prime lamb live weight response to lime application on pasture was measured in a grazing experiment in the high rainfall zone of the southwestern slopes of New South Wales, Australia. The pastures were limed every 6 years over 15 years. First cross South African Meat Merino lambs were used as test animals. Preand post-grazing pasture dry matter (DM) yield, botanical composition, feed quality and lamb live weight were monitored over 12 weeks in 2007. Results showed that liming significantly increased pastureDMyield of high quality species and improved overall pasture quality due to increased digestibility and metabolic energy content. As a result, the limed perennial and annual pastures carried 24.0%(3.6 lambs ha-1) and 29.0% (4.4 lambs ha-1)more stock than the unlimed perennial and annual pastures, respectively. Averaged across pasture types, the limed pastures produced 30.6% (131 kg ha-1) more lamb live weight gain than the unlimed pastures over 12 weeks. The live weight gain varied between grazing cycles depending on the availability of feed-on-offer and feed quality,whichwere closely related to the rainfall pattern.The perennial pastures did not show any advantage in animal production over annual pastures during the experimental period due to lack of moisture in the deep soil profile because of severe drought in the previous year. More seasons with normal or above average rainfall are needed to compare animal production on perennial pastures and annual pastures to investigate the advantage of perennial pastures in animal production.



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