Average fleece weight and wool quality characteristics for pure breeds were calculated from comparisons of pure breeds and crossbreeds with strong wool sheep in fifteen studies. The results for each breed reflect the sample of the breed selected for the studies, after removal of environment effects. Compared to the average Romney, fibre diameter was markedly lower in Merino (59% of Romney, P<0.001) and Finn (72%, P<0.001) but was not significantly different in Texel, Poll Dorset and East Friesian sheep. Staple lengths of other breeds were 53 to 77% (P<0.05) of Romney values. Wool bulk was greater in Texel and Poll Dorset (both 49%, P<0.001), and Merino (32%, P<0.01). To provide a better basis for predicting effects of crossbreeding in breeding ewe flocks, more information is needed from the East Friesian breed. Also the observations need to be extended to adult ewes and need to be obtained from wider samples of the breeds and sheep farming environments, and account needs to be taken of heterosis and other effects.

AR, Bray

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 59, , 17-18, 1999
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