One hundred and eighty cashmere wethers were divided into 11 treatment groups with 9 groups receiving a single melatonin implant at various dates staggered 6 weeks apart throughout the year commencing on 22 January 1988 and finishing on 22 December 1988. The tenth group received a melatonin implant at each of the treatment dates. The control group received no implant. Down lengths were collected at 1 to 6 weekly intervals to monitor growth patterns. The continuous melatonin treatment resulted in lower peak down lengths than controls in August while down lengths were higher than controls from October to January. However the period of down growth was unchanged. Shedding of down occurred 19 weeks after melatonin treatment in all groups except those treated on 15 April, 7 July and 18 August where the interval to shedding was shorter and in phase with the natural shedding cycle. Cashmere growth was only initiated following melatonin treatment from 18 August to 22 December. Treatment on 10 November increased cashmere production by 32 %. This was the only treatment which increased cashmere production harvested in one season.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 50, , 301-304, 1990
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