The value of crops such as perennial wheat (PW) for grain and grazing compared to conventional wheat (W), or the addition of lucerne to PW (PWL) is still being determined. This research sought to determine if these diets were associated with changes in the membranebound proteins that transport nutrients in the rumen epithelium (RE). Crossbred ewes (Poll Dorset × Merino) were fed W, PW, or PWL (50:50) fresh-cut forage ad libitum
for 4 weeks. Average daily gain (ADG; p
< 0.001) was highest in the W-fed lambs compared to the PW and PWL. Metabolisable energy intake (MEI) was higher in lambs fed W (p
< 0.001) compared to PW and PWL. In pairwise comparisons of the PW and PWL diet group we found protein abundance was significantly (p
< 0.05, FDR < 0.05, Benjamini p
< 0.05) different in fatty acid metabolism, oxidative phosphorylation, and biosynthesis of cofactors pathways. There were not any differences in protein abundance related to nutrient transport or energy metabolism in the RE between W- vs. PW- and W- vs. PWL-fed lambs. However, in the PW- vs. PWL-fed lambs, there was a difference in the level of proteins regulating the metabolism of fatty acids and energy production in the mitochondria of the rumen epithelium.