Finishing lambs on intercrops


Eloi and Odile CANON have 170 ha of crops, 400 ewes and 900 lambs. They decided a few years ago to finish their lambs cheaply thanks to the pasture of their intercrops. These intercrops are also used to feed their flock of sheep.

For the first year, they tested the pasture of rape and wheat that will be harvested in grain in 2018 … Watch this space!

Reason for the innovation

The breeders motivations to graze their intercrops were multiple:

  • Finish the lambs at a lower cost with less work (because lambs are outside of the sheepfold)
  • Feed the flock at a lower cost
  • Extend crops rotation (break the cycle of weeds, pests, diseases)
  • Fertilize the soil with organic fertilization (interculture – sheep combination)
  • Allow to reduce the fodder stocks

Nevertheless, the breeders recognize that there are brakes for the implementation of this practice:

  • the fields are not fenced by fixed fences, so it requires extra work to enclose and stress (if the sheep escape)
  • There is a lack of references on the grazing of crops harvested in seed.
  • There may be a brake for farmers if crops area is too low in a dry year

Farm description


  • Soil: Clay, silt
  • Climate: Oceanic climate
  • Altitude: 100m

Grassland management

  • Pasture: Yes
  • Rotating grazing
  • Manure: beetwen 70 and 100 kg organic and inorganic N/ year


  • Annual Work Unit: 3
  • Agricultural area: 210 ha UAA
    • Main forage area: 40 ha
    • Permanent grassland : 25 ha
    • Temporary grasslands: 15 ha
    • Cereal stubble: 100 ha
  • Breeds : Romane, Texel, Cross-breeding
  • Stocking rate : 2,25 LU / ha of forage area

Animal performance

  • Average carcass weight: 20 kg (Lamb)
  • Average age when slaughtered: 5 months (Lamb)
  • Average European classification of the carcass (EUROP): R (Lamb)

Why it is working

This technique works on their farm because they have a sufficient crops area size.

But, according to them, if a farmer does not have enough crop area, it will still be pos-sible for him to ask neighbors to lend their intercrops for pasture.

Nevertheless, it is necessary to have a plot of land grouped and close to the farm.

To be more serene, breeders always have a B solution if one of the intercrops does not grow.

Additional information

Farming system

conventional farming

Domains of innovation

grazing management system

Main types of animal

meat sheep



Product type

Farmer portrait


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