24 Sep 2013

Sweet results from high-sugar ryegrass

6:31 am on 24 September 2013

Lambs raised on high-sugar ryegrass are growing faster and bigger than those grazing on the standard variety, early results from research by the Alliance Group show.

Alliance and seed company Germinal Seeds are running the trial on three southern farms, in partnership with the British supermarket group Sainsbury's.

Alliance livestock manager Murray Behrent said it was part of efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of lamb production by, in this case, growing them more quickly.

"So in terms of lamb performance, we looked at lambs grazing on high-sugar grasses which grew faster and (had) heavier carcass weights than lambs grazing on the standard ryegrass," Mr Behrent said.

"That was on two out of the three properties, and one property also showed that the lambs grazing on high-sugar grasses reached slaughter earlier than lambs grazing on the standard ryegrass."

The preliminary results were compelling but the trials with the Aber high-sugar grass would continue to verify the initial findings and find out more about the reasons for them, he said.