Last update: August 15, 2011 03:52:37 PM E-mail Print

 

PRODUCTION TRAITS OF FINE WOOL MERINO SHEEP ON IRRIGATED PASTURES

 

A.G. Bezuidenhout1, J.J. Olivier, A.C. Greyling1, & J.M. Jansen van Rensburg1

Grootfontein Agricultural Development Institute, Middelburg, 5900

1Cradock Experimental Station, PO Box 284, Cradock, 5880

 

One of the primary objectives for establishing a genetically fine wool flock, was to obtain information on the production traits of fine wool sheep under intensive feeding conditions. Ewes were purchased from different regions in South Africa and mated to Australian fine wool rams. Owing to variation in the nutritional environments in which the ewes had been raised, only data of the progeny (Group F) was used. This data was compared to that of the progeny of a control flock of strong wool ewes (Group C) mated to strong wool rams. Data recorded over three lambing seasons were pooled and analysed by least square methods. The fibre diameter of Group F ewes (19,73 ± 0,08 micron) was significantly (P<0,01) lower than that of Group C ewes (24,14 ± 0,13 micron). Furthermore body mass (60,47 ± 0,42 kg), clean yield (65,66 ± 0,36 percent) and clean fleece mass (4,09 ± 0,05 kg) of Group F differed significantly (P<0,01) from that of Group C which were 64,30 ± 0,70 kg, 69,31 ± 0,61 percent and 6,10 t 0,09 kg respectively. At an age of approximately 16 months the fibre diameter of the progeny of Group F (19,36 ± 0,11 micron) was significantly (P<0,01) lower than that of Group C (22,76 ± 0,22 micron). Body mass of Group F progeny (57,65 ± 0,69 kg) was 3,11 kg lower (P<0,05) as compared to that of Group C. The 4,26 ± 0,09 kg clean wool produced by Group F progeny was 1,78 kg lower (P<0,01) than that produced by Group C.

The lower production of genetically fine wool sheep (Group F), when compared to that of genetically strong wool sheep (Group C), is in close accordance with previous preliminary findings. A similar income will be obtained from the two strains if the price of fine wool (20 micron) is 50 percent higher than that of strong wool (24 micron).

 

Published

Proceedings 32st SASAS congress