Fibre diameter and staple strength of sheep selected for divergent clean fleece weight when subjected to an increase in intake or an increase in intake and diet change

Michael Friend, Geoffrey Robards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Merino wethers with a high (fleece plus, Fl+) or low (fleece minus, Fl') potential for wool growth were offered a restricted intake of either oat grain or lucerne chaff for 8 weeks followed by ad libitum lucerne chaff for 4 weeks. The Fl' sheep that were fed oats then lucerne had a lower (P < 0.05) intake during the first 2 weeks of ad libitum feeding than all other groups. Staple strength of Fl+ sheep (37.5 ± 2.2 N/ktex) was less (P < 0.05) than that of Fl' sheep (44.5 ± 2.4 N/ktex), and dietary treatment did not significantly affect staple strength. Wool growth rate was unaffected by dietary treatment, but was greater (P < 0.001) for Fl+ (6.4 ± 0.2 µg/mm2.day) than for Fl' (4.0 ± 0.2 µg/mm2.day) sheep. Along-fibre variation in diameter was greater (P < 0.001) in Fl+ (15.6 ± 0.5%) than in Fl' (9.9 ± 0.5%) sheep. Between-fibre variation in diameter was greater (P < 0.001) in Fl+ (16.5 ± 0.5%) than in Fl' (13.2 ± 0.5%) sheep, and between-fibre variation in diameter was affected (P < 0.05) by dietary treatment in Fl+ sheep. Staple strength was significantly correlated (P < 0.05) with along-fibre variation in diameter (r = '0.48), and stepwise regression analysis indicated that along-fibre variation in diameter, wool growth rate during early restricted feeding, and minimum fibre diameter explained 63% of the variance in staple strength. The results are discussed in relation to the lower staple strength of Fl+ sheep.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-201
Number of pages7
JournalCrop and Pasture Science
Volume56
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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