Performance and carcass characteristics of Australian purebred and crossbred lambs supplemented with rice bran
Background: This study examined the effects of dietary supplementation with rice bran, sire breed and gender on live animal performance and carcass characteristics in Australian crossbred and purebred Merino lambs.
Methods: Forty-eight lambs balanced by sire breed (Dorset, White Suffolk, Merino) and gender (ewe, wether) were randomly allocated into three dietary supplementation groups (Control- 24 lambs fed wheat/barley-based pellets, Low- 12 animals fed a 50/50 ratio of wheat-based/rice bran pellets, and High- 12 lambs fed rice bran pellets). The Rice bran pellets replaced 19 % of the barley component of the feed. Animals were group-fed at the rate of 1000 g of the supplement per head per day with ad libitum access to lucerne hay as the basal diet and water. The duration of the feeding trial was 49 days with an initial 21-day adjustment period.
Results: Sire breed differences were evident for initial (p < 0.0002) and final (p < 0.0016) liveweights, hot carcass (p < 0.0030) and cold carcass (p < 0.0031) weights, as well as dressing percentage (p < 0.0078), fat thickness (p < 0.0467), yield grade (p < 0.0470) and rib eye area (p < 0.0022) with purebred Merino under-performing compared to the crossbreds. Concentrate feed conversion efficiency, costs per unit of liveweight gain and over the hooks income were comparable between treatments regardless of the observed trend where the high supplementation group tended to show lower feed intake (745.8 g/day) compared to both the control (939.9 g/day) and low supplementation groups (909.6 g/day). No significant differences (p > 0.05) were observed between treatments for live animal performance, carcass characteristics, gender and their second-order interactions.
Conclusions: Results indicate that Rice bran can be utilised as a cost-effective supplementary feed source in genetically divergent sheep over a 49-day feeding period without detrimental effects on overall live animal performance or carcass characteristics.
Australian Wool Education Trust
Publication titleJournal of Animal Science and Technology
Department/SchoolTasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA)
PublisherBioMed Central Ltd
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
Rights statementCopyright 2015 Flakemore et al. Licenced under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/