Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Animal and Nutritional Sciences

Committee Chair

William B. Bryan.


A study to evaluate lamb production under organic management was carried out in 2003 and 2004 at the West Virginia University Organic Research Farm. About 0.93 ha of tall fescue-orchard grass-red clover grassland was assigned to three blocks based on soil type, slope and previous treatment. Each block was divided into two main plots and assigned the following treatments: One was fertilized with compost while the other received no fertilizer. Two groups of sheep under organic management were rotationally grazed on the plots; one group on the plots with compost (high input) and the other on the plots with no compost (low input). The average stocking rate for the low input treatment was 8.6 ewes• ha-1 and 12 lambs• ha -1 while the average stocking rate for high input treatment was 10.3 ewes• ha-1 and 16 lambs• ha -1. Soil fertility parameters, herbage production, lamb production and ewe performance were measured. There was no effect of input on soil pH, soil available P, K, Mg and organic matter. Average lamb production was 327 kg• ha-1 for low input treatment and 403 kg• ha-1 for high input treatment. Performance of individual lamb was not different (P < 0.05) between the treatments (mean ADG). Lamb production per ha was higher in the high input plots because stocking rate was higher than on the low input plots. Lamb production and performance were lower in 2004 than 2003. This was because of increased parasite infections in 2004. There was no difference in ewe performance and wool production (2.7 kg• ewe-1) between low input and high input treatments.