Effects of feeding green forage of sulla (Hedysarum coronarium L.) on lamb growth and carcass and meat quality.

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The nutritional effects of sulla (Hedysarum coronarium L.) forage containing condensed tannins (CT) on growth of lambs, and carcass and meat quality were investigated. Thirty-two male Comisana lambs aged 100 ± 8 days weighing 19.0 ± 2.8 kg were fed fresh forage of sulla or CT-free annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam. subsp. Wersterwoldicum) for 49 days until slaughter; in addition, each lamb was supplied with 200 g/days of concentrate. Eight lambs per diet had been previously treated with anthelmintic drugs to remove nematode parasites. Measurements of BW and feed intake, and counts of faecal nematode eggs were made. Carcass parameters were recorded after slaughter, and tissue components of the hind leg were determined. Longissimus dorsi meat was evaluated for pH, colour, thawing and cooking losses, Warner-Bratzler shear force, chemical composition and sensory properties based on triangle tests. Relative to ryegrass-fed lambs, sulla-fed lambs had significantly greater dry matter (DM) and protein intake, a more favourable feed conversion ratio, and superior growth rate, final BW at 150 days of age, carcass weight, yield and fatness. These results were attributed to the high protein and non-structural carbohydrate content of sulla, and also to the moderate CT content of sulla (16.7 and 20.3 g/kg of DM in offered and consumed sulla forage, respectively). Anthelmintic treatment did not affect lamb growth, as the level of parasitic infection (initial and final) was low. The physical, chemical and sensory properties of the lamb meat were not influenced by diet.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-154
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Animal Science and Zoology

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