Supplementary Feeding Sheep

Improving utilisation of dry pasture

Supplementary feeding can improve utilisation of dry pasture or stubble by providing small amounts, 20-50 grams/head/day (g/h/d), of a supplement high in protein, for example lupins. However, this will only occur where the amount of dry pasture is non-limiting, at least of 1500 feed on offer (FOO), measured in kilograms of dry matter per hectare (kg DM/ha) and the quality is reasonable (50-55% digestibility). Providing high rates of feed (more than 100g/h/d) will lead to substitution where the sheep choose the supplementary feed over pasture causing reduced pasture utilisation.

Once the quality of the pasture falls to less than 50% digestible, energy becomes limiting for maintenance for all classes of sheep and feeding protein will not aid further utilisation of dry pasture. Feeds with high energy need to be fed to maintain sheep once digestibility and quantity has fallen below 50% and 1500 FOO (kg DM/ha) respectively.


For more information on the benefits of supplemtary feeding please visit these websites

Department of Agriculture and Food

Compass Feeds

Lifetime Ewe Managment