5 tips to choose the perfect Dohne ram for your herd
DOHNE MERINO, TIPS, AUCTIONS | Nov 15, 2018
It’s auction day – there’s a lot of hype, lots of people, and lots of competition for the best Dohne rams.
And choosing the wrong animal can prove a costly mistake (and one that could take generations to fix). So if you’re relatively new to the Dohne breed, before the gavel comes down on your ram or sire of choice, how can you be sure you’re buying the best Dohne in your price category? Wynand du Toit, owner of Suidplaas Dohnes, shares his 5 Dohne selection tips.
- Work with a registered breeder you trust
There are many Dohne Merino auctions held across South Africa. So be sure you buy your rams from a registered breeder with trustworthy statistics available on his or her animals. Unregistered breeders won’t have the same comprehensive data available. Your best bet is therefore to work with a registered breeder with a good reputation in the industry.
- Estimated Breeding Values (EBV)
Do your homework before the auction. And identify the characteristics in your own herd that you wish to improve. Then set your own EBV parameters and buy the rams that meet those parameters. Dohne farmers often tend to buy rams based SOLELY on good visual quality of the wool. But if income ratios take precedence for you, then as a buyer, you should rather focus on reproduction and meat characteristics (the complete opposite to the quality of the wool).
- Choosing a ram:
Here are a few tips that emanate from
four decades in the Dohne industry:
- The ram must be fertile (it must produce properly).
- Look for a ram whose parents enjoy above-average reproductive performance.
- The ram should have outstanding EBVs.
- Look for good pre-weaning growth and conformation.
- The ram should have good quality Dohne wool.
- Always check the percentage of the tested group on offer.
- The viewing day
Most Dohne breeders have an open day before the auction. And this is your chance to take a closer look and to analyse the sheep on auction. Get into the nitty-gritty (like the wool length, mass, fineness, uniformity). The Dohne is a dual-purpose breed, so also check out his shape (usually well disguised by a woolly body).
- Chat to an experienced farmer/breeder.
Most Dohne farmers are more than willing to share what they’ve learnt over the years. So chat to them – or to wool brokers – to help you as you build up your own experience.
Suidplaas Ram & Ewe Auction:
In January, Suidplaas Dohnes will once again hold a Dohne ram sale – one of the biggest private auctions to be held in the southern hemisphere. We’ll have 85 rams on auction, and a number of young ewes. We’ve got more information coming soon.