Reasons Why people select dorpers . . .
. . . in Australia's sheep meat industry:
- Fast growth rate and desirable EBVs (breeding value index).
- Non selective grazing - will eat most weeds and grasses. My dorpers have no problems eating St John's Wort.
- Strong mothering instinct and milk supply.
- Good food conversion - will do well on poor native pastures, plus respond quickly to supplementary feed.
- Compared to many other breeds they have high fertility; also three lambings in two years means increasing output by an extra 30% in that time period (not a common practice).
- QA (quality assurance) is maintained through breeding performance results with Lambplan and/or an international classification system based on conformation, size, fat distribution, colour and cover.
- High quality skin /leather - equals 20% of carcass value in South Africa and a growing market in Australia.
- Meat is tasty, tender and juicy; plus an outstanding dressing % and meat to bone ratio
- No shearing, muelsing, crutching or flystrike; also, above average parasite resistance.
- Used by wool producers to achieve their best returns for prime lamb income.
- Dorpers readily adapt to all climatic zones, plus, studies indicate no other breed handles heat stress better than dorpers.
- Medium sized animal + fast growth rate requires less food and time than larger breeds when preparing for market.
- Performance percentages make this breed an obvious choice for enterprises seeking more efficient results.
- Ad hoc research shows increasing producer preference for the dorper breed when restocking.
You select Dorper (black head) or White Dorper (white head)
. . . there are some differences as they are two separate breeds. It is interesting to note that White Dorper was known as Dorsian until the 1960s when the Dorsian Breed Society became part of the Dorper Breed Society and changed the Dorsian name to White Dorper. A cross between Dorper sheep and White Dorpers will not produce a dorper or white dorper.
Your decision about which breed to choose is a managerial decision. I like Dorpers (black head) because:
- Black head animals appear to have fewer skin problems or disease - if so, limited time, $ and labour resources are not wasted.
- I can immediately tell which animals are F1 or F2 - avoiding earlier confusion I had in recognising white faced breeds crossed to white dorpers.
- Field trial observations in 2007 indicate Dorper weaning and post weaning weights can be achieved up to 10 days earlier than White Dorpers - a great saving in feed and other expenses.
- Some people suggest Dorpers have greater heat tolerance - My observations indicate they are very hardy.
- The butcher and householder have no interest in an animal's colour, only the meat quality.
- The first cross colour pattern is attractive to families of small holdings.
- It appears the dorper's black feet equals less time trimming feet
- Get more animals for a lower cost when buying foundation stock.
- Abattoir Results in 2009, using Viascan technology, saw 47% Dorpers earn a Lean Meat Yield bonus payment, compared to 22% for White dorpers.