Production and heterosis by the Merino, Polwarth and their reciprocal crosses
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Butler, LG and Horton, BJ and Williams, PM and Banks, RG, Production and heterosis by the Merino, Polwarth and their reciprocal crosses, Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 33 pp. 397-402. ISSN 0816-1089 (1993) [Refereed Article]
Tasmanian Merinos and Polwarths were mated in each of 2 years to produce 2 drops of Merino, Polwarth, and F1 reciprocal cross progeny. Polwarths had weaning weights similar to Merinos but were 14% heavier as hoggets. Polwarths grew a similar amount of wool of 11% greater (P < 0.001) fibre diameter; however, wool production was 9% less efficient based on metabolic weight. Polwarths displayed an advantage in resistance to footrot. There was a marked Polwarth maternal effect of about 16% on weaning weight but no elfect on hogget weight. The Polwarth maternal effect on fleece weight and efficiency was 9% (P < 0.001). In a comparison with a single-born male, ewes weighed 5% less at weaning and 7% less at hogget shearing and produced about 6% less wool (P < 0.001), although of comparable fibre diameter. Twins weighed 17% less at weaning, but only 3% less at hogget shearing (P < 0.001). They grew about 5% less wool, which was of 2% greater fibre diameter (P < 0.001) and 5% higher wool score, but efficiency was 2.5% lower. Production was generally lower (except for yield and wool score) in the 1988 drop than the 1987 drop by 3-10%. Differences in productivity between ram sources were of only slightly lesser magnitude than differences between breeds. The number of feet affected by footrot was reduced by 17% in the 1988 drop. Severe footrot affecting more than 1 foot reduced liveweight but did not significantly reduce fleece weight. There appeared to be some heterosis for weaning weight (10%) and hogget weight (6%), but little heterosis in wool growth (2-3%) or efficiency (-2%). © 1993 CSIRO.
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