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Effects of defaunation of the rumen and supplementation with amino acids on the wool production of housed Saxon Merinos. 2. Methionine and protected methionine

DJ Cottle

Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 28(2) 179 - 185
Published: 1988


In experiment 1, 6 groups, each of 10 superfine Merino wethers, were individually penned indoors and hand-fed oats, wheat straw and whole lupins, either alone or with 2 g/day of DL-methionine or 6.6 g/day of fatty acid coated methionine (Ketionin) for 23 weeks. Following shearing the 6 groups were hand-fed lucerne-chopped hay in experiment 2 either alone or with hydroxymethyl-methionine (Mepron) or Ketionin for 23 weeks. In both experiments the rations were fed at maintenance level and were offered 3 times a week. Half of the sheep had no rumen ciliate protozoa following treatment in a previous trial. In experiment 1, defaunated sheep produced an additional 6.5%clean wool on the supplemented oats plus lupins rations. Inclusion of Ketionin in the ration of defaunated sheep resulted in an 11% increase in clean wool growth, without affecting wool quality. In experiment 2 defaunated sheep produced an additional 6% clean wool on the lucerne-chopped hay ration. No responses to defaunation occurred on the supplemented rations. Inclusion of both forms of protected methionine in the ration (providing 2 g methionine/ resulted in 23% and 13% higher clean wool production in the faunated and defaunated sheep respectively. Fibre diameter of wool was increased by 0.7 pm in sheep receiving Mepron and 0-5 pm in sheep receiving Ketionin. The wool grown by suppiemented sheep remained suitable for the 'Sharlea' trade (< 17.5 ¦m). It is concluded that wool growth responds more to defaunation on high energy-low protein diets. Wool growth responses to supplementation with protected methionine were greater on 100% roughage diets than on high grain diets. Further study is needed before an optimal ration for superfine wool production is formulated.

© CSIRO 1988

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