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South Australian Merinos Today

Studmasters carefully improved their flocks over the years by working to breed an early maturing animal with a big, plain body that could travel long distances for food and water and adapt quickly to Australia’s semi-arid pastoral zones.

Their quest was successful, with SA Merinos accounting for a significant proportion of the entire Australian wool clip.

Growing more wool than other strains in Australia, they need the minimum of care and survive in the dry pastoral zones, in rainfall zones as low as 140mm, and can adapt to higher rainfall districts that receive up to 900mm.

High fertility is also a positive trait of the SA Merino, and ewes of this strain provide the nucleus to the prime lamb industry when mated with meat breed terminal sires such as the Suffolk, White Suffolk and Poll Dorset in particular.

Some lamb producers prefer to use a Merino cross as their prime lamb dams, with the Border Leicester Merino a popular choice.

The superior genetic performance of the South Australian Merino has positioned it as adaptable for all conditions with exceptional wool quality and meat characteristics.

With semen insemination and embryo transfer now a routine procedure, future extensions of these techniques include sexed semen and production of invitro fertilized embryos developed from eggs taken from young lambs. Reliance on DNA tests is also fast becoming a reality, and experiments with cloning are well underway.

"Growing more wool than other strains in Australia, they need the minimum of care and survive in the dry pastoral zones, in rainfall zones as low as 140mm, and can adapt to higher rainfall districts that receive up to 900mm."

 

 
 

"Today, technology plays an integral role in future decision-making. Objective measurements are being provided by stud breeders which, when combined with subjective appraisal, help identify an animal’s genetic traits."