• LUPINS can replace soya as a protein source in beef diets with no adverse effect on performance, but more work is needed on lupin agronomy before producers can confidently grow the crop, according to Stephen Webster, researcher at ADAS Rosemaund. "Cattle fed rolled or hammer milled lupins perform as well as cattle receiving soya as the principal diet protein source.
"Early agronomic studies on lupins show they yield 3-5t/ha and perform best on light land as they are susceptible to slugs. They are also acid tolerant and can be grown in soils where pH is as low as 5."
• ESSENTIAL oils from plants such as garlic, oregano and thyme could replace antibiotic growth promoters in calf diets. In research at Leeds University, calves between two to 10-weeks-old were fed a supplement containing a mixture of essential oils incorporated in calf milk replacer and calf concentrates. Researcher Henry Greathead says growth rate improved from 0.61kg a day to 0.75kg a day and feed conversion ratio improved from 2.22 to 1.94 in calves receiving the supplement. Adding oils costs £2.50/t of milk replacer or concentrate. *