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  • Highest price R80 000Highest price R80 000 picture

    At Konsortium-Merino's 30th sale, 18 February 2016, this ram fetched the highest price ever paid for a Konsortium ram: R80 000.

  • Better SA record at 32nd saleBetter SA record at 32nd sale picture

    At Konsortium-Merino's 32nd production sale all 353 rams were sold at an average of R8 418 to better their current SA record for turnover to R2 971 400.

  • Invest in ewe unitsInvest in ewe units picture

    Buy Konsortium-Merino ewe units. It is a safe investment in livestock, without having to be involved in the administration thereof...

  • Changing gears from price taker to price maker

    2014-02-13

    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...

  • Faith like woolFaith like wool picture

    Angus Buchan, parading his 100% proudly South African, Konsortium-Merino wool jacket, with joy.

  • From sheep to shop

    2012-03-28

    Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving...

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Type and breeding

By using nature as a major selector, the Konsortium-breeders have over years broken away from the traditional Merino with pleats – long before their partnership was born. A more robust Merino, which produces well under natural conditions, has evolved. This sheep is larger, plain-bodied, open-faced and has less bellies and points. That which is lost in wool density, is gained in length. The type boasts good constitution, better reproduction and better mothering abilities.

Strict selection

Konsortium-breeders select purposefully for fertility. Due to high reproduction there are enough replacements to enable culling of all ewes that skip, or do not wean a lamb. All stud lambs are weighed at weaning and subjected to performance testing as year-olds. Wool and growth performance indexes, as well as strict hand-and-eye evaluations ensure optimal ewe selection – the foundation of their success.

Test for the best

As members of the Merino Plan the reproduction and production of Konsortium-sheep is constantly being evaluated to ensure progress. In the past their participation in Merino SA’s national progeny tests, veld ram clubs and the National Show for Measured Productio also kept them on track. 

About 950 ram lambs are entered for every sale on Dombietersfontein and tested on natural veld conditions for six months to identify the best from the rest. Buyers can thus always be assured of quality rams that perform on veld. More than 3100 Merino ewes and 15 Konsortium-rams were part of the largest Merino progeny test tackled in the South African Merino-industry to date. The Konsortium-breeders eagerly implement scientific methods to identify superior genetic sires.

BLUP breeding values

To breed the ideal Merino is a challenge, as the breed’s most important economic attributes correlate negatively with each other. The bigger the sheep, the stronger the wool. The more wool a sheep carries, the shorter it’s wool. Fine wool again, is generally produced on smaller sheep.

BLUP-analysis is done to enable one to determine far more accurately a Merino’s predicted breeding values with regards to body weight, clean clip weight, fibre diameter and staple length. These breeding values are estimated by taking an animal’s own performance, those of his parents, other forebears and half-siblings, as well as his own progeny’s performance.

SA BLUP-values indicate that the Konsortium boasts big sheep with low/fine micron and good staple length - that which is so difficult to achieve because of the breed’s negative correlations. Over the past years Konsortium-Merino gradually gained in body weight and decreased in micron. Thus on track with their breeding goal.

Individual mating

The breeders meet before every mating season to choose the best rams. Each stud ewe is evaluated and a fitting ram selected for her from the pool. They aspire to strengthen a ewe’s strong points and solve possible shortcomings. The breeders then carefully plan a program of AI and synchronization. Konsortium’s prize rams are transported from farm to farm to AI the first and second cycles. For the third cycle each breeder uses his own rams for the few skipped ewes.

It is irrelevant how many, or from which breeder the stud rams are recruited. What does matter, is that they are the best rams for the present breeding requirements. The progeny of each member’s ewes (ram and ewe lambs) remain his property. The top ram lambs being bred are available to all for future mating. Every December the Konsortium takes stock. The successes and shortcomings of the previous season are evaluated in order to plan for the next season.

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