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Authors Morcombe, PW; Young, GE; Boase, KA
Author Full Name Morcombe, PW; Young, GE; Boase, KA
Title Grazing a saltbush (Atriplex-Maireana) stand by Merino wethers to fill the 'autumn feed-gap' experienced in the Western Australian wheat belt
Source AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL AGRICULTURE
Language English
Document Type Article
Keywords Plus SHEEP; WOOL
Abstract Three-year-old Merino wethers were grazed at 4 stocking densities (15, 20, 25 and 30 sheep/ha) in 3 consecutive autumns on saltbush forage. About 50% of edible material was leaf [70% digestible dry matter (DDM), 8.9% crude protein (CP)] and 50% was small stems <5 mm diameter (40% DDM and 4.5% CP). In 1992, 9-month-old wethers also grazed the saltbush stand at 30 sheep/ha. Liveweight initially increased by 1-3 kg during the first 14 days of grazing, then declined at 60-100 g/day until the diminishing forage reserves became critical, by which time the stand had provided for about 450 grazing-days/ha. The performance of the 9-month-old wethers was comparable with the 3-year-old sheep at equivalent grazing pressure. In 1992, the tensile strength of wool staples from the 3-year-old sheep grazed at the higher density of 30 sheep/ha, 17.2 N/ktex, was weaker (P<0.05) than staples from sheep grazed at 15 and 20 sheep/ha, 27.1 N/ktex, and 25 sheep/ha, 24.9 N/ktex. Saltbush plantations can be used to provide a feed source which could partly fill the 'autumn feed-gap' for greater than or equal to 9-month-old dry sheep. Grazing at less than or equal to 20 sheep/ha, removal of sheep from the saltbush before the mean liveweight declines below that at the start of grazing, and provision of a reliable supply of water will avoid low staple strength wool. More productive stands of saltbush, grown together with winter-active plant species, are needed to improve the economic viability of this grazing resource.
Reprint Address Morcombe, PW (reprint author), WESTERN AUSTRALIA DEPT AGR,3 BARON HAY COURT,S PERTH,WA 6151,AUSTRALIA.
Times Cited 22
Total Times Cited Count (WoS, BCI, and CSCD) 22
Publisher C S I R O PUBLICATIONS
Publisher City COLLINGWOOD
Publisher Address 150 OXFORD ST, PO BOX 1139, COLLINGWOOD VICTORIA 3066, AUSTRALIA
ISSN 0816-1089
29-Character Source Abbreviation AUST J EXP AGR
ISO Source Abbreviation Aust. J. Exp. Agric.
Year Published 1996
Volume 36
Issue 6
Beginning Page 641
Ending Page 647
Digital Object Identifier (DOI) 10.1071/EA9960641
Page Count 7
Web of Science Category Agriculture, Multidisciplinary
Subject Category Agriculture
Document Delivery Number VM525
Unique Article Identifier WOS:A1996VM52500004
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