Dawn Meats Group

South Africa - Sheep of the future

13 Mar 2010

Leading South African sheep stud stock producer Clynton Collett, who pioneered the introduction of several dual purpose sheep breeds into Australia, has made possible a new meat breed for Australian producers that he said is the “low cost sheep of the future”.
Mr Collett gave the first public viewing of his South African Meatmaster breed at the Cleanskin sheep symposium in Adelaide, and described the feedback as “very positive’.

The Meatmaster sheep, developed by crossing the fertile, hardy and disease resistant fat-tailed South African hair sheep with well muscled British and European breeds, is understood to put on 169 per cent of its body weight in 100 days and produce an A2-A3 graded lamb weighing up to 25 kilograms before five months of age.

A South African carcase competition reported the total income per Meatmaster ewe at $77.26.

"The question is always why do we need another breed and is it necessary but when you look at the breeds available there is still few breeds that make economic sense," Mr Collett, owner Bethulie stud, told delegates at the symposium.

“Stud producers should be asking themselves can my animals sire effectively, can they produce lambs that srivive......and unfortunately these are often answered in the negative.”

While Mr Collett’s Dorper, Damara, White Dorper, SAMM and Boer goat genetics kick started each breed in Australia fourteen years ago, he insisted he would not have introduced another sheep breed if it did not make farmers money.

“I feel responsible to breeders here in Australia using the genetics I exported…and the point is always if a breed is working well than stick with them.”

He said he was humbled by the gains Australian sheep breeders had made with South African genetics.

The South African Meatmaster breed, first developed 18 years ago and registered in 2007, is the fifth largest sheep breed in South Africa.

“I am quite sure it will rise to become the biggest,” Mr Collett said.

Source: farmonline.com.au

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