n South African Journal of Agricultural Extension - Wool versus mutton in extensive grazing areas

Volume 43, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0301-603X
  • E-ISSN: 2413-3221


This paper investigates the relative profitability of woolled and mutton sheep under field conditions in an extensive grazing area. The dataset comprises 34 fulltime farmers and 75% of the sheep in the district. There was no difference in unit production costs or net farm income per sheep in the flock. Dorper flocks recorded higher lambing rates and Merinos lower rates of predation, which deserves further investigation. The percentage woolled sheep in the flock was modelled as a logit function of farm size, crop area, tradition and terrain ruggedness, although the latter was not significant. These results confirm earlier recommendations that reproductive efficiency must be carefully monitored in Merino flocks. The extension message is that on average there is no financial advantage to woolled sheep production, although this could change if woolled flocks could be made more productive. The wool industry must not stop serving these extremely arid areas.

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