Merino Breeder at NAMPO 2017

Writes Tshepo Heqoa

Giepie Calldo at Stellenbosch merino 2014

Giepie Calldo at Stellenbosch merino 2014

Without controversy, it has been both a thrilling and fascinating thought to realise that NAMPO has grown to be the biggest privately owned agricultural exhibition in the world. One may curiously wonder how possibly did Grain SA manage to achieve such great heights, but their fidelity and avidity throughout the tenacious past decades have given much reason to the extents they have attained.

Words would fail one for the curiosity of illustrating the sight that Grain SA exhibited. The site was noble, illustrating the creativity of both local and international exhibitors.  Year after year, the innovation displayed by exhibitors at the NAMPO has without doubt been impressive, nevertheless, the 2017 NAMPO exhibitions way far beggared description. This year, the thrill and the beauty of the event were a reward of diligence and hard work in the part of participating farmers as well as other exhibitors who upgraded their systems of functionalities they wish to sell. Alongside displays of different livestock breeds, seeds and farm machinery were impressive displays of up-to-date vehicles.

Barring all the peculiarities already mentioned above was a view most wonderful to ponder and write home about. An ewe and its breeder. You might be thinking out loud, “what is it that is so special about a sheep and her breeder.”

Mr Giepie Calldo, Cape Mohair and Wool national manager was delighted to fashion The Silo team with facts concerning the long wool his sheep had. He shared with us their program of weaning, how and when they do their weaning. Weaning early proved to motivate rapid growth of lambs especially when fed legume based forages. This feeding programme we learned, influences a much faster growing rate of lambs than that of their fellow unweaned equivalents.  After 100days, he acknowledged, that they wean all lambs and separate them from their mothers, this encourages all dams to be on heat again within a stipulated time frame.

“The ewe you are seeing over here is five years old now and was last sheared on the 1st May 2014 when it was 24 months old. The reason we have left part of the wool on the sheep not sheared is to demonstrate and satisfy some curiosities we have, of which part was to view the full extent to which the wool may grow. Furthermore, the quality of the wool is an ideal way to determine the quality of the farm whereas the quality of the milk indicate good management,” he explained.untitled-3

Mr Calldo further added, “The length of the fiber may relate fairly the changes taking place at the farm over the years. But we do not keep the wool this long for all our sheep because we do not want to initiate any stress for our animals. Now the good thing about our wool is the thickness thereof-70 microns- that adds to the final value of the commodity. You know you have the best wool when it does not break.” Stretching it he illustrates the strength of it.

One thing that you might logically ask is, “does not the thick layer of the wool on the sheep have adverse results of the stress levels of this sheep?” it is quite plausible to inquire. But a fellow worker with Mr Calldo made a jolly illustration, comparing Basotho in their blankets irrespective of seasons with the wool on this kind of sheep. He told the team that this quote acts as an insulation. Both from the terrible cold and extreme solar power.

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