Wool follicle and fibre characteristics, and aspects of their seasonality were assessed in feral sheep from the Hokonui Hills (Merino origin), Campbell Island (Merino x long-wool breeds) and Raglan Peninsula (Romney). Live weight, fleece weight, staple length, crimp frequency, fibre diameter, fibre curvature, follicle density and secondary to primary follicle ratio differed between breeds, reflecting their breed origins. Mean clean fleece weights of the feral breed groups were approximately half that of their modern counterparts. Factors contributing to the low productivity were reduced staple length and follicle density, and a brief cessation of growth by some follicles during spring. The mean amplitude of rhythms in seasonal wool growth and fibre diameter increased with age, and appear to have converged to similar values, contrasting with their modern breed counterparts.

AJ, Pearson, MG Ashby, RMW Sumner, and AJ Nixon

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 59, , 34-38, 1999
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