Introduction of Dorper sheep into Australian rangelands: implications for production and natural resource managementYohannes Alemseged A B and Ronald B. Hacker A
A NSW Department of Primary Industries, PMB 19, Trangie, NSW 2823, Australia.
B Corresponding author. Email: email@example.com
The Rangeland Journal 36(1) 85-90 https://doi.org/10.1071/RJ13034
Submitted: 16 April 2013 Accepted: 14 November 2013 Published: 2 January 2014
The growing popularity of the Dorper breed of sheep potentially may have implications for the ecological sustainability of the semiarid and arid rangelands of southern Australia. The implications are heightened by forecasts of a warming and drying climate in these rangelands, which may in itself place native vegetation under increasing stress. While the Dorper breed of sheep offers important production advantages, little is known from research under Australian conditions about their grazing ecology and management requirements from a natural resource perspective. Key factors identified from this review of literature from other countries include a high fertility and fecundity, a generalist feeding strategy, a high growth rate and a capacity to survive and reproduce under low-rainfall conditions. The wider range of plant species selected by the Dorper compared with the traditional Merino breed of sheep potentially creates both opportunities and risks for rangeland condition. Less selective grazing may reduce pressure on some species but the capacity to harvest sufficient nutrients over a smaller area could concentrate grazing and promote resource degradation. High reproductive efficiency under a wide range of seasonal conditions may lead to more rapid onset of overgrazing and will require close attention to both natural resources and animal marketing if resource degradation is to be avoided.
Additional keywords: diet selection, Dorper sheep, grazing behaviour, reproduction rate.
ReferencesBrand, T. S. (2000). Grazing behaviour and diet selection by Dorper sheep. Small Ruminant Research 36, 147–158.
| Grazing behaviour and diet selection by Dorper sheep.CrossRef | 10760450PubMed |
Budai, C., Gavojdian, D., Kovács, A., Negrut, F., Oláh, J., Cziszter, L. C., Kusza, S., and Jávor, A. (2013). Performance and adaptability of the Dorper sheep breed under Hungarian and Romanian rearing conditions. Animal Science and Biotechnologies 46, 344–349.
Burke, J. M., Apple, J. K., Roberts, W. J., Boger, C. B., and Kegley, E. B. (2003). Effect of breed-type on performance and carcase traits of intensively managed hair sheep. Meat Science 63, 309–315.
| Effect of breed-type on performance and carcase traits of intensively managed hair sheep.CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DC%2BC3MbnsVyrsA%3D%3D&md5=b5138feb8755dd092b0727abd57ced56CAS | 22062382PubMed |
Butler, A. R., Wiese, S. C., and Young, M. C. (2001). The history and performance of Dorper sheep in Western Australia. In: ‘Proceedings of the 5th International Sheep Veterinary Conference’. (Eds M. C. Young, A. Butler and S. C. Wiese.) (University of Stellenbosch: Stellenbosch, South Africa.)
Campbell, Q. P. (1989). ‘Make Money with Mutton Sheep.’ (Cedar Printing & Silkscreening: North End, South Africa.)
Cloete, S. W. P., Snyman, M. A., and Herselman, M. J. (2000). Productive performance of Dorper Sheep. Small Ruminant Research 36, 119–135.
| Productive performance of Dorper Sheep.CrossRef |
DAD-IS (2011). Domestic Animal Diversity Information System. Available at: http://dad.fao.org/ (accessed 8 March 2011).
DAGRIS (2011). Domestic Animal Genetic Resources Information System. Available at: http://dagris.ilri.cgiar.org/display.asp?ID=448 (accessed 8 March 2011).
De Haas, H. J., Chemitei, V. C., and Smith, G. P. (1973). ‘Three years experience with Dorper sheep at the National Animal Husbandry Research Station, Naivasha.’ Sheep and Goat Development Project, Ministry of Agriculture, Kenya. Working Paper No. 4. (Ministry of Agriculture: Nairobi, Kenya.)
De Waal, H. O., and Biel, L. C. (1989). Supplementation of lactating Dorper and Merino ewes in Themeda cymbopogon veld. 2. Diet quality and feed intake. South African Journal of Animal Science 19, 148–155.
de Waal, H. O., and Combrinck, W. J. (2000). The development of Dorper, its nutrition, and a perspective of the grazing ruminant on veld. Small Ruminant Research 36, 103–117.
| The development of Dorper, its nutrition, and a perspective of the grazing ruminant on veld.CrossRef | 10760447PubMed |
du Toit, P. C. V. (1998). Diets selection by Merino and Dorper sheep in Karoo veld. Grootfontein Agriculture 2, 15–22.
du Toit, P. C. V., and Blom, C. D. (1995). Diet selection by sheep and goats in the Noorsveld. African Journal of Range & Forage Science 12, 27–37.
| Diet selection by sheep and goats in the Noorsveld.CrossRef |
Elias, E., Cohen, D., and Dayenoff, P. (1985). Characteristics and indices of reproduction in Dorper sheep. Journal of the South African Veterinary Association 56, 127–130.
| 1:STN:280:DyaL28%2FovV2ntg%3D%3D&md5=2493393dd7e3d4ce1c0e3ecb58c5c754CAS | 4078834PubMed |
Engels, E. A. N., Malan, A., and Baard, M. A. (1974). The voluntary feed intake of three breeds of sheep on natural pasture. South African Journal of Animal Science 4, 27–29.
Fourie, L. J., and Horak, I. G. (2000). Status of dorper sheep as hosts of ectoparasites. Small Ruminant Research 36, 159–164.
| Status of dorper sheep as hosts of ectoparasites.CrossRef | 10760451PubMed |
Friedel, M. H., Foran, B. D., and Stafford-Smith, D. M. (1990). Where the creeks run dry or ten feet high: pastoral management in arid Australia. In: ‘Australian Ecosystems: 200 Years of Utilization, Degradation and Reconstruction’. (Eds D. A. Saunders, A. J. M. Hopkins and R. A. How.) pp. 185–194. (Surry Beatty & Sons Pty Ltd: Chipping Norton, NSW.)
Greeff, J. C., Hofmeyr, J. H., Wyma, G. W., and Van Deventer, J. F. P. J. (1988). Preliminary results on heterosis and breed transmitted effects in respect of fertility and survival rate of Romanov and Dorper crossbreds. In: ‘Proceedings of the 3rd World Congress of Sheep and Beef Cattle Breeding 2’. pp. 19–23. (Institut International de la recherché Agronomique: Paris, France.)
Gunn, R. H. (1986). The arid interior and west. In: ‘Australian Soils. The Human Impact’. (Eds J. S. Russell and R. F. Isbell.) pp. 90–116. (University of Queensland Press: St. Lucia, Qld.)
Hacker, R. B., and Smith, W. J. (2007). An evaluation of the DDH/100mm stocking rate index and an alternative approach to stocking rate estimation. The Rangeland Journal 29, 139–148.
| An evaluation of the DDH/100mm stocking rate index and an alternative approach to stocking rate estimation.CrossRef |
Hacker, R. B., Alemseged, Y., Carberry, P. M., Browne, R. H., and Smith, W. J. (2006a). ‘Betting on Rain. Managing Seasonal Risk in Western NSW.’ (Department of Primary Industries, New South Wales: Sydney.)
Hacker, R. B., Hodgkinson, K. C., Melville, G. J., Bean, J., and Clipperton, S. P. (2006b). Death model for tussock perennial grasses: thresholds for grazing-induced mortality of mulga Mitchell grass (Thyridolepis mitchelliana). The Rangeland Journal 28, 105–114.
| Death model for tussock perennial grasses: thresholds for grazing-induced mortality of mulga Mitchell grass (Thyridolepis mitchelliana).CrossRef |
Hodgkinson, K. C., and Muller, W. (2005). Death model for tussock perennial grasses: a rainfall threshold for survival and evidence for landscape control of death rate in drought. The Rangeland Journal 27, 105–115.
| Death model for tussock perennial grasses: a rainfall threshold for survival and evidence for landscape control of death rate in drought.CrossRef |
King’oku, J. M., N’Thome, J., Ogutu, E. M., and Rakozi, C. (1975). ‘Fifteen years production data on Dorper sheep at Katumani Research Station, Machakos, Kenya.’ Sheep and Goat Development Project, Ministry of Agriculture, Kenya. Technical Note No. 12. (Ministry of Agriculture: Nairobi, Kenya.)
Knights, R. (2010). Dorper sheep and the production of lean lamb in arid Australia. Available at: www.issinstitute.org.au/pdfs/report_execsum_knights.pdf (accessed 8 March 2011).
Malhado, C. H. M., Carneiro, P. L. S., and Affonso, P. R. A. M. (2009). Growth curves in Dorper sheep crossed with the local Brazilian breeds, Morada Nova, Rabo Largo, and Santa Inês. Small Ruminant Research 84, 16–21.
| Growth curves in Dorper sheep crossed with the local Brazilian breeds, Morada Nova, Rabo Largo, and Santa Inês.CrossRef |
Marais, P. G., and Schoeman, A. (2011). Geographic distribution of Dorper sheep in the Republic. Available at: http://gadi.agric.za/articles/Agric/geographic.php (accessed 20 August 2013).
McKeon, G. M., Hall, W. B., Henry, B. K., Stone, G. S., and Watson, I. W. (2004). ‘Pasture Degradation and Recovery in Australia’s Rangelands: Learning from History.’ (Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy: Brisbane, Qld.)
Milne, C. (2000). The history of Dorper sheep. Small Ruminant Research 36, 99–102.
| The history of Dorper sheep.CrossRef | 10760446PubMed |
Munn, A. J., Dawson, T. J., McLeod, S. R., Croft, D. B., Thompson, M. B., and Dickman, C. R. (2009). Field metabolic rate and water turnover of red kangaroos and sheep in an arid rangeland: an empirically derived dry-sheep-equivalent for kangaroos. Australian Journal of Zoology 57, 23–28.
| Field metabolic rate and water turnover of red kangaroos and sheep in an arid rangeland: an empirically derived dry-sheep-equivalent for kangaroos.CrossRef |
Muya, S. M., Kamweya, A. M., Muigai, A. W. T., Kariuki, A., and Ngen, S. M. (2013). Using range condition assessment to optimize wildlife stocking in Tindress Wildlife Sanctuary, Nakuru District, Kenya. Rangeland Ecology and Management 66, 410–418.
| Using range condition assessment to optimize wildlife stocking in Tindress Wildlife Sanctuary, Nakuru District, Kenya.CrossRef |
Mwenya, B., Wollny, C., Blummel, M., Banda, J., and Takahashi, J. (2003). A comparative study on digestive parameters in an indigenous fat-tailed and a conventional Dorper sheep fed on maize stover crop residue. Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 16, 529–533.
Noble, J. C., and Tongway, D. J. (1986). Herbivores in arid and semi-arid rangelands. In: ‘Australian Soils. The Human Impact’. (Eds J. S. Russell and R. F. Isbell.) pp. 243–270. (University of Queensland Press: St. Lucia, Qld.)
Roux, F. A. (1992). The influence of the composition mixed Karoo vegetation on the grazing habits of Merino and Dorper wethers. MSc Agric. Thesis, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa.
Schoeman, S. J. (1990). Productivity of purebred Dohne Merino, S. A. Mutton merino and Dorper sheep under an intensive accelerated lambing system. In: ‘Proceedings of Fourth World Congress to Genetics Applied to Livestock Production’. Vol. 5. (Ed. W. G. Hill.) pp. 373–376. (World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production: Edinburgh, Scotland.)
Schoeman, S. J. (2000). A comparative assessment of Dorper sheep in different production environments and systems. Small Ruminant Research 36, 137–146.
| A comparative assessment of Dorper sheep in different production environments and systems.CrossRef | 10760449PubMed |
Schoeman, S. J., and Burger, R. (1992). Performance of Dorper sheep under an accelerated lambing system. Small Ruminant Research 9, 265–281.
| Performance of Dorper sheep under an accelerated lambing system.CrossRef |
Schoeman, S. J., De Wet, R., and Van der Merwe, C. A. (1993). Assessment of the reproductive and growth performance of two sheep composites, developed from Finnish Landrace, compared to the Dorper. South African Journal of Animal Science 23, 207–209.
Schoeman, S. J., De Wet, R., Botha, M. A., and Van der Merwe, C. A. (1995). Comparative assessment of biological efficiency of crossbred lambs from two composite lines and Dorper sheep. Small Ruminant Research 16, 61–67.
| Comparative assessment of biological efficiency of crossbred lambs from two composite lines and Dorper sheep.CrossRef |
Snowder, G. D., and Duckett, S. K. (2003). Evaluation of the South African Dorper as a terminal sire breed for growth, carcase, and palatability characteristics. Journal of Animal Science 81, 368–375.
| 1:CAS:528:DC%2BD3sXhsFKhsb4%3D&md5=77031b728148fa786fd8af598c56c6e6CAS |
Snyman, M. A., and Herselman, M. J. (2005). Comparison of productive and reproductive efficiency of Afrino, Dorper and Merino sheep in the False Upper Karoo. South African Journal of Animal Science 35, 98–108.
Snyman, M. A., and Olivier, W. J. (2002). Productive performance of hair and wool-type Dorper sheep under extensive conditions. Small Ruminant Research 45, 17–23.
| Productive performance of hair and wool-type Dorper sheep under extensive conditions.CrossRef |
van der Westhuizen, E. J. (2010). The effect of slaughter age on the lamb characteristics of Merino, South African Mutton Merino and Dorper lambs. MSc in Agriculture Thesis, Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
Vanimisetti, H. B., Greiner, S. P., Zajac, A. M., and Notter, D. R. (2004). Performance of hair sheep composite breeds: resistance of lambs to Haemonchus contortus. Journal of Animal Science 82, 595–604.
| 1:CAS:528:DC%2BD2cXhtFSmu7o%3D&md5=5f9eda370a9e23304c729f167fe2a5d5CAS | 14974560PubMed |
Wilcox, D. G., and Cunningham, G. M. (1994). Economic and ecological sustainability of current land use in Australia’s rangelands. In: ‘R&D for Sustainable Use and Management of Australia’s Rangelands’. (Eds S. R. Morton and P. C. Price.) pp. 87–172. (Land and Water Resources Research and Development Corporation: Canberra, ACT.)
Wilson, R. T. (1991). ‘Small Ruminant Production and the Small Ruminant Genetic Resource in Tropical Africa.’ Food and Agriculture Organisation Animal Production and Health Paper No. 88. (FAO: Rome, Italy.)
Young, M., and Kilminster, T. (2004). ‘Alternative Meat Sheep in the Farming System. Ovine Observer Number 29.’ (Western Australian Department of Agriculture: Perth.)
Zishiri, O. T., Cloete, S. W. P., Olivier, J. J., and Dzama, K. (2013). Genetic parameters for growth, reproduction and fitness traits in the South African Dorper sheep breed. Small Ruminant Research 112, 39–48.
| Genetic parameters for growth, reproduction and fitness traits in the South African Dorper sheep breed.CrossRef |