14 Oct MegaMin SulPhos Increases Daily Weight Gain Average by up to 290%
In the New England region of NSW, merino sheep generally run on granite soils containing lower nutrient levels, in particular, phosphorus and sulphur can be limiting. Recent trials by AgSolutions and Miramoona Merinos producer, Kim Barnet, sought to determine the extra growth potential for merino weaners (which can be challenging at the best of times) by supplementing with extra phosphorus and sulphur.
Sulphur is essential for wool growth. Wool contains keratin, a protein structure carrying high levels of sulphur within the amino acid, cystine. Wool has a total content of 4% sulphur, hence supplementation should improve wool production and quality.
Phosphorus is essential for bone and muscle development, milk production, fertility, and growth. As such, providing adequate dietary phosphorus is crucial for merino production.
Suitable for year-round use, MegaMin SulPhos is a livestock loose supplement containing macro and trace minerals with additional sulphur and phosphorus. SulPhos is particularly beneficial for ewes as it can help to improve conception rates when supplemented before and during joining, it is also ideal for stock grazing nutritionally-deficient country.
To measure phosphorus and sulphur supplementation effects on merino weaners, two trials were conducted over a two month period during drought conditions in 2019, and again during good seasonal conditions in 2021. In both trials, merino weaners were drafted into a supplemented group and control group. Supplemented groups received MegaMin SulPhos and rock salt, and control groups received rock salt only.
In 2019, trials found the supplemented group produced an average daily weight gain of 28.57g per head per day while the control group produced 12.5g per head per day, indicating merino weaners generated a 128% increase in average daily weight gains when supplemented with MegaMin SulPhos during drought conditions.
Comparatively, trials conducted in 2021 found the supplemented group produced an average daily weight gain of 71.57g per head per day while the control group produced 18.33g per head per day, indicating merino weaners generated a 290% increase in average daily weight gains when supplemented with MegaMin SulPhos during good seasonal conditions.
In summary, trials found merino weaners supplemented with MegaMin SulPhos and rock salt during drought and good seasonal conditions produced greater daily weight gain averages than merino weaners supplemented with rock salt only.
Kim Barnet further acknowledges the benefits of using MegaMin livestock supplements, stating “MegaMin is easy to use because it’s safe when wet and works well for rotational grazing management. As wool is one of our major annual incomes, we will be using MegaMin SulPhos in future as sulphur aids in parasite control and increases wool production”.
Increasing daily weight gains in merino sheep can increase body size and subsequent wool production, meaning overall flock production will likely improve where stock are encouraged to reach their full genetic potential with an annual supplement program.
For more information about this trial, contact our Field Advisor, Philip Stacy. Philip has been servicing the New England region of NSW for over 10 years and helped conduct this trial in partnership with Miramoona Merinos producer, Kim Barnet.
PHILIP STACY | FIELD ADVISOR
0439 794 077 | [email protected]