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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Sustainable Small Farm and Organic Production Systems for Livestock and Agroforestry

Location: Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center

Title: The effects of supplemental sericea lespedeza pellets in lambs and kids. 1. Growth rate

item Miller, James -
item Terrill, Thomas -
item Mosjidis, Jorge -

Submitted to: Livestock Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 6, 2013
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Sericea lespedeza (SL; Lespedeza cuneata) has been used in recent years to aid in the control of gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN) in sheep and goats, but sometimes body weight gains are reduced when SL is fed for several weeks. Scientists at USDA, ARS in Booneville, AR, Louisiana State University, Fort Valley State University, GA, and Auburn University determined that short term SL feeding can have positive effects on weight gain, but longer term feeding led to reduced growth rate. Understanding negative effects that can occur to animal production by using SL for GIN control helps to guide producers in using this product to maximize worm control and production. This information is important to organic and conventional small ruminant producers, extension agents, and scientists.

Technical Abstract: Sericea lespedeza (SL; Lespedeza cuneata) has been used in recent years to aid in the control of gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN) in sheep and goats. Grazing or feeding dried SL leads to a reduction in egg production by GIN and reduces coccidiosis. Growth rates in lambs and kids when fed SL for more than 56 d has not been well characterized. The objective was to determine the effects of feeding SL leaf meal pellets on growth rate in lambs and kids. Lambs or kids weaned between 86 and 108 days of age (day 0) were supplemented with up to 900 g of a control supplement (CO) or SL leaf meal pellets for 56 to 112 days while grazing grass pastures at the USDA, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Booneville, AR or Louisiana State University (LSU), Baton Rouge, LA in 2010 (ARS lambs only), 2011 (lambs only), and 2012. Animals were weighed every 28 days for up to 112 days of supplemental feeding. Data were analyzed using GLM [average daily gain (ADG)], mixed models using repeated measures, or regression. Between days 0 and 56, ADG was greater in 2012 (P = 0.01) or tended to be greater in 2010 (P = 0.07) in SL than CO lambs at ARS, but lower in SL than CO ARS lambs (P < 0.001) and kids (P = 0.02), and similar in LSU lambs. During the latter growth phase, ADG was reduced in SL compared with CO fed lambs and kids (P < 0.01, all), except for LSU lambs in 2011 which were similar between groups. Additional studies are necessary to understand changes in growth rate of SL supplemented lambs and kids. It may be necessary to restrict the period of supplementation to less than 56 days to maximize weight gains in lambs and kids.

Last Modified: 7/25/2014
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