Judges at the recent regional Eastern Cape wool sheep flock competition, held in Tarkastad, said the quality of sheep offered from communal farmers is exceptional.
According to Abrie Aucamp, an independent National Wool Growers’ Association (NWGA) ram selector, the quality of sheep astounded judges.
“They had a lot of difficulty in picking the best animals, since the overall quality of the entries was of such a high quality.”
The judges for the event were Gary Trethewey from BKB and Koos Louw of CMW (OVK). They were assisted by Aucamp and Willem Goosen from the NWGA.
74 Merino sheep from all over the Eastern Cape competed in the categories for best lamb, two-tooth, four to six tooth and ram.
According to Aucamp, the main emphasis of the competition is the importance of proper breeding. He says it allows other farmers to observe top animals or see possible breeding mistakes. He said he uses the judging process as a platform to teach farmers about breeding and to share information.
“The farmers appreciate this tremendously, it gives them new insight and they can also see to what they should strive for in their own flock.
“They are very anxious to learn and receive new information,” Aucamp said.
The competition is judged according to specifications from Merino SA, where sheep are judged according to specifications for conformation and wool characteristics.
A lamb from Napoleon Nehlohla’s flock was scored as of the highest quality and T. Duba received the accolade for the best ram in the overall award. They also claimed the first and second positions in all categories.
NWGA general manager Leon de Beer was impressed with the enthusiasm of the participants and those who attended.
“The quality of the animals surpassed all expectations and the NWGA is proud of the outcome of the genetic improvement programme which started in 2002.”
Aucamp said the result of the competition showcases the phenomenal success of transformation that the NWGA is achieving through its ram breeding project.
“Good quality animals mean a good income for these farmers – something they didn’t have before the project started.”
Zoetis, RCL Foods, Merino SA, OVK, BKB, Toyota, NWGA and the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform supported the event.