The Dohne organisations you should know about
DOHNE MERINO, INTERNATIONAL REACH | Sep 27, 2019
The Dohne Merino breed is growing – thanks to the versatility and profitability of the animal.
While the breed was born in South Africa, today countries across the world are highlighting their support for it. As a result, many societies and organisations are coming into existence internationally. So as a Dohne Merino breeder, here are the organisations you really should know about.
Dohne Merino Breed Society of South Africa
The Dohne Merino Breed Society of South Africa was created on 16 May 1966. According to Cameron McMaster, in his book, ‘Birth of a Breed: The Dohne Merino Story’, during the 1950s and 60s, the breed continued to develop as a result of the work undertaken by private breeders.
As such, it became clear that breeders should form their own organisation to control and supervise the breeding of Dohnes on a more formal basis. By the end of the first year of the new society’s existence, 36 small studs had registered as foundation members, with a total of 2,500 stud ewes.
Over the years, the Breed Society has reached many milestones, including the export of embryos to Australia and Uruguay. This has led to the launch of breed societies in these countries. Back home, the organisation continues its work in promoting Dohne Merinos to South Africans, and the world, and to improve the breed. Today there are 101 registered breeders with the organisation.
Australian Dohne Breeders’ Association (ADBA)
In 2000, the inaugural meeting of the Australian Dohne Breeders’ Association Ltd was held in Western Australia. This is where the constitution was drawn up, and the first councillors selected.
According to McMaster, the ADBA has provided a strong, united voice for the breedover the years. This is thanks to the “large contribution from many passionate hard-working breeders to develop and maintain service not only in the early years, but in the years that have followed”. The ADBA has also effectively promoted the breed and provided services to both ram breeding members and commercial producers.
Today, thanks to the support of the ADBA, Australia is a major supplier of Dohne breeding material to many other countries.
Asociación Gremial Criadores Dohne de Chile
(Dohne Breeders’ Association of Chile)
Dohne genetics were first introduced to this South American country in 2002 from Australia. Sheep breeding is an important rural industry here – and the Dohne Merino has provided breeders here with wool that is less course than the dominant Corriedale breed (finer wool is in greater demand globally).
Already these breeding programmes have significantly supported the income of many farmers in Chile, says McMaster.
Today the industry is overseen by the Dohne Breeders’ Association of Chile. This organisation is extremely active on digital platforms – and works to encourage and promote the improvement of the Dohne breed in the country. Their aim is to maximise returns for commercial producers through an optimal balance of meat and wool production, which operates as a sustainable and profitable system.
Uruguayan Dohne Breed Society
The Uruguayan Dohne Breed Society launched in 2013 – almost a decade after the first Dohne embryos were imported from leading studs in Australia. The aim of the society is to coordinate and promote the breed in Uruguay. And according to McMaster, these breeders are highly sophisticated and competent, using the most modern techniques to evaluate and promote their sheep.
Asociación Argentina Criadores De Merino
(Association of Argentina Merino breeders)
In Argentina, Dohnes were introduced in 2005. It soon became clear that Dohnes can deliver superior reproductive, growth rates and fibre diameter to local breeds, McMaster writes. The industry has grown since then, and today Dohne Merino breeders are represented by the Merino industry body. This organisation was founded in 1948, and aims to grow the breed and support Merino and Dohne producers in the country.
Falkland Wool Growers
Australia sent the first Dohne embryos to the Falkland Islands in 2003. Since then, the results were so positive, that breeders embarked on ambitious programmes to multiply pure-bred Dohnes with further embryo imports and flushing of their own pure-bred ewes.
The industry is the Falkland Islands has shown recent renewed interest in embryo imports from South Africa.
Breeders on the islands form part of the Falkland Wool Growers, who act as agents for Dohne Merino breeders (and other sheep farmers) here.
At Suidplaas, we work with international bodies like these mentioned above, and with our global peers in the industry.
For example, we’ve partnered with Australian Dohne breeder, Mt Alma since 2000 – where our daughter stud started. And we’re partnering with Dohne breeders in South America, to help build productive, profitable Dohne studs.
(Much of this information was sourced from Cameron McMaster’s book, Birth of a Breed: the Dohne Merino Story.)