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Selection by Lambs Grazing Plantain (Plantago lanceolata L.), Chicory (Cichorium intybus L.), White Clover (Trifolium repens L.), Red Clover (Trifolium pratense L.) and Perennial Ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) across Seasons

1
Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, Rajarata University of Sri Lanka, Puliyankulama, Anuradhapura 50000, Sri Lanka
2
International Sheep Research Centre, School of Agriculture and Environment, Massey University, Palmerston North 4422, New Zealand
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(12), 2292; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122292
Received: 8 November 2020 / Revised: 26 November 2020 / Accepted: 2 December 2020 / Published: 3 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Animal System and Management)
Diverse pastures based on combinations of the forage herb species plantain and chicory with red clover and white clover, provide superior annual feeding value to finish lambs in temperate regions, compared to the traditionally used perennial ryegrass and white clover pastures. The success of herb-clover diverse pastures is dependent on maintaining the relative abundance of each species in the mix over time. The selective grazing by lambs on herb-clover mixes was compared with their selection on perennial ryegrass and white clover pasture, by using randomly tagged individual plants, to determine if selective grazing changed the relative abundance of any of the herb or clover species. Variations in the selection of the forage species over the seasons of the year were observed, but best practice grazing management was shown to maintain the relative abundance of species in herb-clover pastures required for superior lamb live weight gains.
Plantain (Plantago lanceolata) and chicory (Cichorium intybus) are now widely used in combination with clover species to provide greater annual lamb live weight gains than perennial ryegrass and white clover pasture. Reported selective grazing of the species in herb-clover mixes could potentially detrimentally change the relative abundance of species and decrease lamb production. Lambs were offered three herbage treatments: Pasture (perennial ryegrass and white clover) mix, plantain (plantain, red clover and white clover) mix and a chicory (chicory, plantain, red clover and white clover) mix in each of four seasons for two years. The experiment was a randomized complete block design with three replicates with 18–30 lambs per treatment replicate depending on the season. Lambs were rotationally grazed and fed ad libitum. Selection by the lambs of individually tagged plants within the pasture treatments was observed for three days on two occasions per season. Red clover was the most selected species on day 1, but by day 3 there was no difference in the selection of the species (p < 0.05). Plantain and chicory in the plantain and chicory mixes were selected less on day 1 in autumn relative to the other seasons (p < 0.05). It was concluded that three days of grazing before moving lambs maintained the relative abundance of species in the herb-clover mixes. View Full-Text
Keywords: selective grazing; diverse pastures; plantain; chicory; red clover; white clover; sheep selective grazing; diverse pastures; plantain; chicory; red clover; white clover; sheep
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MDPI and ACS Style

Somasiri, S.C.; Kenyon, P.R.; Morel, P.C.H.; Morris, S.T.; Kemp, P.D. Selection by Lambs Grazing Plantain (Plantago lanceolata L.), Chicory (Cichorium intybus L.), White Clover (Trifolium repens L.), Red Clover (Trifolium pratense L.) and Perennial Ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) across Seasons. Animals 2020, 10, 2292. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122292

AMA Style

Somasiri SC, Kenyon PR, Morel PCH, Morris ST, Kemp PD. Selection by Lambs Grazing Plantain (Plantago lanceolata L.), Chicory (Cichorium intybus L.), White Clover (Trifolium repens L.), Red Clover (Trifolium pratense L.) and Perennial Ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) across Seasons. Animals. 2020; 10(12):2292. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122292

Chicago/Turabian Style

Somasiri, Sharini C., Paul R. Kenyon, Patrick C.H. Morel, Stephen T. Morris, and Peter D. Kemp. 2020. "Selection by Lambs Grazing Plantain (Plantago lanceolata L.), Chicory (Cichorium intybus L.), White Clover (Trifolium repens L.), Red Clover (Trifolium pratense L.) and Perennial Ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) across Seasons" Animals 10, no. 12: 2292. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122292

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