Improving sheep feedlot management
Abstract\"This paper summarises six studies undertaken by the Sheep CRC to elucidate certain aspects of confinement feeding of sheep. A review of confinement feeding highlighted the variability of growth rate and feed conversion of sheep and revealed that little is known about the use of sorghum for feeding sheep. The review indicated that the main factors responsible for variation of growth rate and feed conversion were adaptation to grain and feeding system, including the preparation and presentation of feed. The importance of social and physiological adaptation to grain feeding was confirmed. Factors identified as responsible for safe induction and uniform growth rates included prior exposure to grain as lambs, gradual introduction of grain and, when concentrate was provided ad libitum from the first day, the use of either virginiamycin, a pelleted feed, a total mixed ration or a step-wise increase of high-starch grain components. Separate feeding of hay and grain resulted in performance comparable with that of a pelleted diet and that of a total mixed ration. Sorghum-based concentrate diets resulted in growth rates and carcase weights similar to that for winter cereal grains or pellets. Steam flaking or expanding of sorghum had no significant effect on growth rates or carcase weights. These results can be used to determine the profitability of various feedlotting options. \"