Adding perennial chicory to grasslands can boost growth rates of lambs, new research has revealed.
Trials at the University of Cumbria’s Newton Rigg Campus were very encouraging, confirmed David Woodcock, Rural Estates Manager.
The average weight of chicory fed lambs at the end of the trials – which ran from June 7 2007 to July 19 2007 – was half a kilo higher than lambs put onto regular pasture.
Ewes also did much better on chicory grassland.
“Chicory established well in the grass sward, over-wintered well and lambs grazing the fields finished off very well,” said Mr Woodcock.
“At a time when livestock farmers are looking at cutting costs the addition of chicory to the seed mix has the potential for some valuable economic gains,” he added.
A total of fourteen and half acres of grass and chicory leys were established at Newton Rigg in the autumn of 2006 and 2007.
The chicory type used was the Puna II variety which was developed in New Zealand.
Not only does this perennial herb offer high yields of very palatable and nutritious fodder but it is drought tolerant due to its deep tap root.
This is likely to become increasingly important for pasture-based systems as climate change alters rainfall patterns.
The original ‘wild-type’ variety of chicory was ruled out as a forage crop due to poor productivity.
But after ten years of selection more robust forms became commercially available in the mid-80s, including Puna II.
It is ideal for finishing lambs and also provides high quality fodder for cattle. It also appears to reduce the worm uptake in sheep.
Farmers and livestock producers are now invited to a special University of Cumbria open day at Newton Rigg to learn about the advantages of this valuable herb and the full results of the trials.
Better Returns from Chicory will be held on Tuesday 13 May between 10am and 1.30pm in the Caldbeck Room.
It is being run in conjunction with EBLEX (The Beef and Lamb Sector Company) and British Seed Houses.
To register for your free place, which includes lunch and a tour of the Newton Rigg chicory pasture, ring Hellen or Sandra on 0870 6091840.
New Syngenta Spray Nozzle to Minimise Cereal Losses
GM Crops Must Become Part of Cereals Sector Tool Kit
Silage Additive Offers Over 6:1 Investment Return