The Dohne Merino breed’s main objective, since the earliest days, remains to produce meat with production of Merino quality wool as a stabilising factor.
Lately price ratios between especially lamb meat and wool fluctuated quite a bit. The recent relative high prices for wool might therefore have caused some producers to change their focus. The same reasoning regarding the price differential for fibre fineness applies. Regarding fibre diameter, it must be remembered that finer fibres, are used to spin superior fabrics in the apparel department of the wool industry. Equally it has to be taken into account that specialist fibre producing animals are generally characterized by lower reproduction and growth rates and are therefore less hardy. Merino enterprizes in Australia catering for the specialist fine wool market, are farmed with under very intensive conditions. Those flocks are also known, to be less hardy and also for maturing at a later age.
Against the backdrop above, it is import for all woolled sheep farmers to re-think the importance of hardiness and fittness traits relative to wool production. It is therefore significant that Eastern Cape farmers around Stutterheim (where the negative effects of inability to withstand adverse conditions are felt first), dominated recent carcass competitions. In fact Mr. Robbie Blaine (Wauldby Dohnes), set the example by acting as convenor of the Sheep section of SAMIC’s national qualifier Komga competition.
Mr. Tom Blaine (Ross Dohne Merino stud) entered the best two groups of lamb carcasses with scores of 87.06 and 85,21 respectively. Chris and Ian Sheard of Cathcart entered the top individual carcass (89.93 points) (A Dohne Merino-Dormer cross lamb). Tom Blaine (Ross Dohne stud) was also awarded the second best individual lamb carcass with 89.50 points
The Dohne Merino Breed Society congratulate these breeders and also thank Landbouweekblad for the information and pictures used in this article. Buy Landbouweekblad of 1 December 2017 (page 77) or visit Landbou.com for the complete article