The versatility and adaptability of the Dohne Merino
DOHNE MERINO, TIPS, AUCTIONS | Jul 13, 2020
The impact of the Coronavirus on the economy has highlighted THIS principle: That it has never been more important to operate efficiently.
And that’s also the case in the sheep farming industry.
For sheep farmers, this means having a low-input animal – that can generate maximum income at the lowest possible cost.
According to Wynand du Toit, owner at Suidplaas Dohnes, the versality and adaptability of the Dohne Merino can help farmers weather this economic storm, in more ways than one. “The combined wool and meat opportunities of Dohne sheep help to increase total flock income. That’s one of the reasons why dual-purpose breeds like the Dohne Merino are so popular.”
But there’s more to the Dohne Merino than only this: Dohnes are also hardy animals, which in turn can cut your management and production costs.
Wynand says, “Especially in the Overberg (and other winter rainfall area), their hardiness allows them to survive the elements.”
They are adaptable to the cold and wet weather. That makes winter lambing an option. Here at Suidplaas, because lambs grow quickly (which supports a quick turnaround time) our stud ewes are inseminated in September and March, with lambing taking place in February and August. Our herd ewes are also impregnated naturally in September and March, and also lamb in February and August (the latter still a chilly time of the year).
When it’s dry in the region, their hardiness allows them to survive on grazing and feed of a lower nutritional value (allowing you to increase your stocking rates – albeit sustainably).
Dohne Merinos also have low fat distribution – supporting greater income from meat production.
Wynand offers these tips on how to increase your total flock income over time as a Dohne Merino farmer:
- It’s good to ensure your Dohnes remain hardy and adaptable. So expose those sheep you intend to breed with to natural conditions (avoid artificial feeds etc.)
- At Suidplaas, we operate using the mantra: Genetics for profit. So use the principles of genetics in your selection process. (We implement strict selection for fertility under natural conditions, as well as for quality, fine merino wool with the emphasis on length).
- And maintain good quality control. For example, we have performance and progeny records for all our animals. And we ONLY offer the top 25% of our tested animals at our auctions.
Remember, our next Suidplaas Dohnes Auction takes place on Wednesday 5 August. More info.
Additional article sources and helpful resources:
Suidplaas Ram & Ewe Auction:
In August, Suidplaas Dohnes will once again hold a Dohne ram sale – one of the biggest private auctions to be held in the southern hemisphere.