Previous PageTable Of ContentsHome PageNext Page

Methods of using rongai lablab for beef cattle production

R.E. Hendricksen and D.J. Myles

"Brian Pastures". Pasture Research Station. Gayndah. Q. 4625.

Cattle grazing native pasture during autumn and winter in sub-coastal southern Queensland generally lose weight. Various native pasture management strategies have been attempted to improve livestock production in the winter (Humphreys 1962). Sown pasture has proved useful (Young and Daly 1967; Scattini 1969) but an annual forage crop is another possibility. One potentially useful crop, particularly in autumn. is Lablab purpureus (L.) Sweet cv. Rongai.

Several grazing and pen feeding experiments were conducted at "Brian Pastures", Gayndah to measure the growth of cattle fed Rongai in different forms (Table 1).

TABLE 1. Growth rates of cattle fed Rongai herbage, hay "chaff" or silage

Growth rates of cattle grazing Rongai herbage were low and affected by stocking rate. However maximum growth rates were similar at both stocking rates (600 g hd-1 day-1) but the period of maximum growth was shorter at the heavy stocking rate due to rapid consumption of available forage. Animals preferred leaf and consumed little stem before losing weight.

The crop was processed in various ways to improve its utilization. Allowing cattle free access to baled hay and stubble was inefficient. Cattle fed "chaffed" hay grew 30% faster than cattle fed "long" hay. Substituting 50% of the "chaffed" and "long" hay with sorghum grain increased growth rates by 61% and 53% respectively. Silage was inferior to hay. Cattle made the best use of Rongai herbage when it was fed as "chaff". When "chaff" is combined with grain it makes an excellent finishing ration.

Humphreys, L.R. (1962). Proc. Nth. Qd. Agrost. Conf. South Johnstone.

Scattini, W.J. (1969). M. Agr. Sci. Thesis University of Queensland.

Young, N.D. and DALY. J.J. (1967). Qd. J. agric. Anim. Sci. 24: 149.

Previous PageTop Of PageNext Page