Chicory for Lambs

Understanding the potential of chicory for lambs

Project number:          7390

Lead contractor:         Lesley Stubbings

Partners:                      Helen Mathieu, British Seed Houses

                                      David Woodcock, Newton Rigg, University of Cumbria

Start & end date:         01 June 2007 – 01 August 2008

 

The Problem:

New varieties of perennial chicory bred and now widely used in New Zealand are beginning to stimulate the interest of livestock farmers in the UK.  Chicory has a good nutrient value and a potential to support high growth rates.  It also offers drought tolerance, a high mineral content and is thought to reduce the effect of internal parasites.

 

Project Aims:

  1. To evaluate the overall effectiveness of chicory as a part of a mixed sward in sheep systems in England
  2. To collect performance data when lambs and ewes are grazing chicory in mixed swards
  3. To demonstrate to producers how chicory can fit into beef and sheep grazing rotations and the potential responses.

 

Approach:

A trial field (3.1 ha) at Newton Rigg will be split into two plots; one half planted with a standard seed mixture only, while the second half will be planted with a standard seed mixture and chicory.

A uniform group of 38 North Country Mule ewes and their Texel-cross lambs with the same grazing history will be allocated to the two plots after weighing, condition scoring and initial faecal egg counts (FEC), so there will be 19 ewes and 38 lambs on each plot. FEC, liveweight and body condition will be collected through the trial (6 weeks).

 

Deliverables:

The results from the trial will be used to promote the benefit of using chicory within a mixed sward through articles and briefings.  An Action for Profit will be produced as supportive material. An open day will be held at Newton Rigg to demonstrate the principles and results.