Last update: March 30, 2012 02:19:25 PM E-mail Print

 

Characteristics of the Afrino

 

JJ Olivier

 

 

After it was ascertained which of the crosses done at the Carnarvon experimental farm best meet the requirements for a white-woolled mutton breed, the information was submitted to farmers. A number of them continued on their own and in February 1980 a breed society was founded and a decision taken to give the name AFRINO to the cross existing of ¼ Merino, ¼ Ronderib-Afrikaner and ½ S.A. Mutton Merino. A constitution and breed standards were also drawn up.

To obtain a better idea of the characteristics or the Afrino, all the data obtained on the Carnarvon experimental farm from 1971 to 1979 was processed. From Table1, showing the average reproduction of the ewes with a spring mating, it is evident that 79,5% ewes per ewe mated, were served.

 

 

No clear age effect was notable from the servicing percentage. The multiples (25,7%) were mainly the offspring of the three to six year old ewes while the two year old ewes made the biggest contribution to the rate of 3,6% stillborn lambs. In the survival abilities of the lambs from birth to wean (96,8%) an age effect could also not be detected. An average of 72,7% lambs were weaned per 100 ewes mated which increased from 54,6% in the case of two year old ewes to 96,8% in the case of five year old ewes, which again decreased with the increase in age up to the seven year old ewes.

During 1980 and 1981 the ewes were mated in autumn and an average of 130% lambs per ewe mated were weaned, which can mainly be attributed to an average servicing percentage of 98%.

The average body masses and wool characteristics of 198 and 211 F2, F3 and F4 rams respectively are reflected in Table 2. Throughout the rams were heavier than the ewes.

 

 

Although the birth masses were relatively high, it is evident from Table 1 that very few lambs were stillborn. The differences in the body masses of the rams and the ewes increased as they grew older which was the result of the development of secondary sexual characteristics. At the age of 18 months the rams weighed an average of 53,75 kg compared with 44,55 kg in the case of the ewes.

As far as the wool traits are concerned, the rams produced an average of 3,43 kg raw wool and 1,89 clean wool compared with the ewes' 3,01 kg raw wool and 1,73 kg clean wool.

The staples in the case of the ewes were, on average, longer than those of the rams and their fibres (21,50 micron) were also thicker than those of the rams. The deviation from Duerden was negligible in the case of the rams and the ewes with rams 1% uncrimped and ewes 3% over-crimped.

The crossing abilities of the Afrino with the Merino must still be determined to establish whether the breed will conform with all the requirements laid down by the S.A. Agricultural Union.

The Afrino possesses excellent qualities, which can further be improved through selection. Although it was not developed to displace other breeds in extensive areas, it can definitely fill a space as far as Merino farmers' exploiting the present high meat prices is concerned.

The results mentioned here are averages over a number of years and especially during the last four years, several unfavourable conditions were present.

 

Published

Afrino Manual 1