Small stock production from veld and pastures:
Knowledge and information management systems (KIMS) for small stock
Forecasting veld production to feed small stock
Climate change and risk management
Field management and small stock production
Production of forage to feed livestock
Feeding small stock
This Scheme had its inception in 1964 after the opening of the
Fleece Testing Centre at Grootfontein, Middelburg, Cape. Since then, the Centre
has played a dominant role in the improvement of fleeces in South Africa. Fibre
diameter has decreased by more than 5 microns over the past decade and body
weight has been lowered without decreasing the wool production per sheep.
The first multi-trait BLUP analysis (traits analysed were body
weight, fibre thickness, clean wool production and pleat count) on Merino sheep
was completed in October 1996. This was the first multi-trait analysis done on
sheep in the world. BLUP analyses are now done at regular intervals.
In the past months negotiations have taken place with the Wool
Testing Bureau in Port Elizabeth to take over the testing of individual wool
samples previously done by the Fleece Testing Centre. This was necessitated by
the improvements in testing methods (OFDA - Optical Fibre Diameter Analyser)
where the variation in fibre diameter is measured and presented graphically.
Because of the high costs of acquiring and maintaining this apparatus it is not
viable for the Fleece Testing Centre to continue with individual testing. The
Fleece Testing Centre at Grootfontein will, however, remain the focal point for
individual fleece samples, where staple length and crimps per inch will still be
determined, if required. The results of the analyses will also be sent out by
the Centre as will the results to the INTERGIS.
Another notable change is the acceptance by INTERGIS of Merino
breeders under the within-herd-selection option whereby animals are recorded,
performance tested and eligible for inclusion in the calculation of BLUP
breeding values, but no registration records are created. Because of this, the
fee-structure is more acceptable to the Merino Society, and more farmers should
participate in the Performance Testing Scheme.
The specifications for the new computer system at INTERGIS are
almost completed, which will include, amongst others, a measure of fertility for
each female in a herd, irrespective of whether they have lambed or not, provided
records of matings are supplied.
A Phase C Ram Testing Centre has been opened at Irene, where
all animals, accepted by INTERGIS, are eligible for testing. This facility
should supply much needed data on the growth rates and feed utilization
capabilities of the various breeds. The initial intake consisted of 39 Ile de
France ram lambs, and will be followed by a group of Dorper rams. The lambs are
housed in individual pens and fed a ration of OTK finishing pellets. It is
intended to extend these facilities to other regions where a demand exists.
Reports and Summaries, similar to those presented by the Beef
Performance Testing Scheme will be sent to all breeders participating with
INTERGIS. These will include the Breeding Herd Report, Reproduction Report, as
well as the Ewe Summary.
As is the case with the Merino breeders, the possibility of
participation at INTERGIS under the within-herd-selection option could make it
more feasible for Dorper and Boergoat breeders, for whom pedigree information is
not required for stud breeding (although it is required for exportation of
animals), to participate in the Performance Testing Scheme. This would also
ensure more records available for BLUP analyses.
Both the wool and mutton schemes have been poorly supported
over the past few years, and it is a challenge for all concerned to find ways
and means of increasing interest among all Breed Societies and breeders, in the
scientific developments of the past decade.
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