Fleece cover was assessed over 10 body regions for nine pure and crossbred combinations of progeny from longwool, short-wool and hair breeds of sheep. Assessments were made between docking and hogget shearing. Visually assessed fleece-cover scores varied by less than 0.35 units within day (P = 0.757) and 0.21 units between days (P = 0.120). Differences of 0.2 units between assessors (P<0.05) were tolerable in a scoring system utilising whole measurement units. The average fleece cover of Wiltshire and Dorper x Wiltshire lambs was 1.14 and 0.92 units less than Coopworth lambs at weaning (P<0.01) but no different at hogget shearing (P = 0.17). The temporary reduction in fleece cover at weaning was attributed to shedding of fibres from the fleece. All breed combinations studied produced between 29 and 67% less fleece than Coopworth hoggets (P<0.001). However, without the ability to synchronously shed their fleece, first generation crossbred progeny required shearing as hoggets.

NC, Merrick

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 63, Queenstown, 160-163, 2003
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