Wool production in Dohne Merino, Dormer, Merino and South African Mutton Merino lambs

Van der Merwe, D. A.; Brand, T. S.; Hoffman, L. C.

South African Journal of Animal Science 50(6): 881-889


ISSN/ISBN: 0375-1589
Accession: 071107474

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In this study, the wool growth of Dohne Merino, Dormer, Merino and South African Mutton Merino (SAMM) lambs reared on a feedlot diet (10.62 MJ ME/kg feed, 20.7% crude protein) was monitored from about two months old until the lambs were shorn as yearlings. The 100 cm(2) patches on the left sides of the lambs were sheared monthly and the clippings were weighed to determine the wool growth rate. At approximately one year old, the lambs were shorn and the fleeces were weighed. A mid rib fleece sample was also retrieved from each lamb for quality analysis. Merino lambs presented the highest wool growth rates (12.943 g/day) and fleece weights (6.140 kg), whereas Dormer lambs exhibited the lowest values for these traits (8.487 g/day and 3.330 kg, respectively (P<0.05)). The lack of differences between Dohne Merino (9.720 g/day and 4.671 kg) and SAMM (10.553 g/day and 4.158 kg) lambs for these wool growth rate and fleece weight traits was attributed to disparities in live weight (86.8 kg and 105.2 kg, respectively (P<0.05), with heavier SAMM lambs offsetting the expected variations in fleece weight. Wool from Dohne Merino and Merino sheep had the finest fibre diameters (<21 mu m), followed by SAMM wool (22-23 mu m), with Dormers producing coarse wool (>27 mu m). These results could be used as guidelines in sheep production to predict the income contribution of wool from these breeds.