Know more

Our use of cookies

Cookies are a set of data stored on a user’s device when the user browses a web site. The data is in a file containing an ID number, the name of the server which deposited it and, in some cases, an expiry date. We use cookies to record information about your visit, language of preference, and other parameters on the site in order to optimise your next visit and make the site even more useful to you.

To improve your experience, we use cookies to store certain browsing information and provide secure navigation, and to collect statistics with a view to improve the site’s features. For a complete list of the cookies we use, download “Ghostery”, a free plug-in for browsers which can detect, and, in some cases, block cookies.

Ghostery is available here for free: https://www.ghostery.com/fr/products/

You can also visit the CNIL web site for instructions on how to configure your browser to manage cookie storage on your device.

In the case of third-party advertising cookies, you can also visit the following site: http://www.youronlinechoices.com/fr/controler-ses-cookies/, offered by digital advertising professionals within the European Digital Advertising Alliance (EDAA). From the site, you can deny or accept the cookies used by advertising professionals who are members.

It is also possible to block certain third-party cookies directly via publishers:

Cookie type

Means of blocking

Analytical and performance cookies

Realytics
Google Analytics
Spoteffects
Optimizely

Targeted advertising cookies

DoubleClick
Mediarithmics

The following types of cookies may be used on our websites:

Mandatory cookies

Functional cookies

Social media and advertising cookies

These cookies are needed to ensure the proper functioning of the site and cannot be disabled. They help ensure a secure connection and the basic availability of our website.

These cookies allow us to analyse site use in order to measure and optimise performance. They allow us to store your sign-in information and display the different components of our website in a more coherent way.

These cookies are used by advertising agencies such as Google and by social media sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Among other things, they allow pages to be shared on social media, the posting of comments, and the publication (on our site or elsewhere) of ads that reflect your centres of interest.

Our EZPublish content management system (CMS) uses CAS and PHP session cookies and the New Relic cookie for monitoring purposes (IP, response times).

These cookies are deleted at the end of the browsing session (when you log off or close your browser window)

Our EZPublish content management system (CMS) uses the XiTi cookie to measure traffic. Our service provider is AT Internet. This company stores data (IPs, date and time of access, length of the visit and pages viewed) for six months.

Our EZPublish content management system (CMS) does not use this type of cookie.

For more information about the cookies we use, contact INRA’s Data Protection Officer by email at cil-dpo@inra.fr or by post at:

INRA
24, chemin de Borde Rouge –Auzeville – CS52627
31326 Castanet Tolosan CEDEX - France

Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

Menu Logo Principal

Home page

For a productive and sustainable sheep breeding on rangeland : an experimental system on the Causse du Larzac

INRA Prod. Anim., 18(5), 323-338.

G. MOLENAT¹, D. FOULQUIER², P. AUTRAN², J. BOUIX³, D. HUBERT¹, M. JACQUIN³, F. BOCQUIER¹, B. BIBE³

1 INRA, Elevage des ruminants en Régions Chaudes, 2 place Viala, F-34060 Montpellier Cedex 01

2 INRA, Domaine de La Fage, F-12250 Roquefort
3 INRA, Station d’Amélioration Génétique des Animaux, F-31326 Castanet-Tolosan cedex

Abstract 

Efficient animal production together with environmental care, are both the global goals of the sheep production system reported here. The challenge was to succeed in establishing a perennial system of lamb production with prolific ewes fed mainly from dry steppic rangeland resources from a calcareous area of the south part of France.

A long term experiment was settled at the INRA Domaine de La Fage on the Causse du Larzac (44°N – 3°E ; 800 m a.s.l.) in order to find a suitable animal breed and to elaborate management rules both for the sheep living outside and for innovative pastoral use of a spontaneous pasture. A multidisciplinary programme was developed according to the following objectives : i) reach the highest feeding auto-nomy from the rangeland grass, ii) succeed in the year to year renewal of the pasture, iii) achieve good growth rates for twin suckled lambs, iv) protect the countryside and maintain plant diversity, and v) limit inputs and costs.

In this context, suckling ewes of the INRA 401 breed are reared outside all year round. They lamb in the early spring and are fed mainly from rangeland pasture. In order to reduce supplements bought outside, the grass productivity of a limited area, i.e. 6 % of the rangeland was increased by means of fertilisers (65 kg N/ha/year + 120kg P2O5/ha every 3 years). Measured over 14 successive years, the average pasture yields were 1.0 t DM/ha on native rangeland and 4.4 t/ha on the fertilised one.

A comparison of four ways of combined use of native and fertilised grass in the spring was performed with ewes suckling an average of 1.5 lambs/dam. Average lambs’growth were 268 to 295 g/day on fertilised paddocks rotationally grazed (2 grazing cycles on 4 paddocks) from mid April until May 20th, with the stocking rate being 15-20 ewes/ha. Growth rates until weaning (end of June) were then kept around 250 g daily when the suckling ewes grazed native rangeland areas all preserved from previous grazing (6 paddocks, stocking rate 2-3 ewes/ha). Electric fences allowed rapid rotational grazing, the ewes staying no more than 4 days at the same place on fertilised grass and 8 days on native grass. From summer rise until January, the flock grazed mature grass as well as refusals from previous grazings. The grazing procedures ensured environmental care and control of invading vegetal species as a result of permanent rotational grazing and high instant stocking rates on mature vegetations. In this experiment, the rangeland resource was the only food offered to the ewes from mid-April until December-January and it represented 68 % of their total yearly energy intake. The remaining 32 % was made of hay from the farm (18 %) and concentrate (14 %) given at the end of pregnancy.

The INRA 401 sheep showed productive and adaptative abilities. It can be considered a suitable breed for the sustainable valorisation for harsh and less favoured areas as well as a good tool to test different ways of pasture management.

Download documents