Prof. Eckart Kassier predicted in 1994 there would only be 30 000 farmers on the land by 2014. Back then, many farmers thought he had lost it, but today that is all we are. Decline is inevitable unless...
"My lambing percentage has increased, the average fibre diameter of my clip has improved and my clean yield is higher." says Hennie Victor of the farm Trompsgraf, Victoria-West.
Hennie and his son, Jan, are loyal supporters of the Konsortium breeding policy of a large carcass with medium to fine quality wool and good length. They have been using this type of plain-bodied Merino since 1998 and are currently reaping the rewards.
Since 1999 the clean yield of their hogget-wool has improved from 66% to 71 %, with fibre diameters ranging between 18.1 and 19.2 micron. The fleece lines of their full-mouth Merino′s boast a clean yield best of 73% and fibre diameter of 21.2 micron. The Victor′s flock has a conception rate of at least 95% (ewes pregnant/ewes mated). On dosing his six week old lambs this year, they averaged 28kg each on natural veld. "These sheep really do grow," says Hennie.