Dom Post: Wool’s being bred into a thing of the past

Jon Morgan of the Dominion Post reports on Kakatahi farmer David “Tex” Matthews, who is building up a flock of ‘woolless’ sheep.

The farmer says he is tired of waiting for wool prices to recover, and has been breading sheep who don’t need to be sheared by crossing two breeds of sheep who shed their wool.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

“He has 7000 ewes and last year had a $27,000 profit from wool after paying the shearing costs. But that fell when the cost of extra shepherding labour and lice and fly dips were taken into account.

“Up against that he puts the extra meat the wiltshire-dorper crosses are adding to his lambs. The crosses have a meat yield he has measured at 46.9 per cent in a small trial, giving an advantage over his regular lambs of an estimated $5 a lamb.

“”If you put that across the 5000 lambs I’ve got to sell, there is an extra $25,000. That’s good enough for me.”

“The only flaw he can see is whether the store market will recognise this extra value and pay him a premium, but that is a minor worry.

“”With the money I’m making out of wool right now, my feeling is that I would be doing just as well with woolless sheep,” he says.”