The pattern of wool fibre and follicle development was monitored for 20 Perendale lambs from lines selected for or against wool bulk. There was no significant difference in characteristics associated with wool bulk between selection lines at birth. These characteristics followed a curvilinear pattern of development with most of the change taking place between birth and 14 weeks of age then reaching a plateau by 35 weeks. The different rate of developmental change for each bulk line meant that by 14 weeks the high line had a greater follicle curvature grade, shorter follicle length, shallower follicle depth, more para-meso cortex and a higher fibre curvature. Together fibre curvature, fibre diameter and fibre diameter standard deviation explained around 70% of the variation in hogget wool bulk from 25 weeks of age. From these results it is suggested that the potential of a sheep to produce high bulk wool can be assessed using fibre curvature and fibre diameter from 6 months of age which allows hogget mating and/or early culling to be practised.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 56, , 314-318, 1996
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