In addition to advantages offered to the lamb trade by the new sheep breeds they also offer opportunities to the wool industry. The influence of new breeds imported by Lamb XL on lamb and hogget wool production and characteristics was examined for Texel, Oxford Down, Whiteheaded Marsh and Finnish Landrace crossbreds compared with Romneys. Fleece weights were similar for the Oxford Down, Whiteheaded Marsh and Romney crosses but Texel crosses had a 12% reduction in hogget fleece weight. Texel and Oxford Down cross hoggets produced wool with high bulk and staple strength compared to the Romney cross hoggets. These characteristics are currently of special interest in the wool industry, with premiums existing for bulk and anticipated in the near future for staple strength. There were no practical differences in other wool characteristics between Romney, Texel, Oxford Down and Whiteheaded Marsh cross hoggets including fibre diameter, yield, colour, vegetable matter contamination and position of break. Finnish Landrace crosses produced lighter, finer fleeces. However half Finnish Landrace crosses are unlikely to be used in farming systems and reductions in fleece weight will be lower in the anticipated quarter or eighth Finnish Landrace crosses. Lamb and hogget wool production and characteristics from the exotic crossbreds compare favourably with New Zealand Romneys and offer increases in wool production compared to traditional terminal sires.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 51, , 227-234, 1991
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