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May 2009

Release Date: May 7, 2009ASU Logo

ASU Ranch to Host Inaugural Dorper Ram Test

Angelo State University’s Management, Instruction and Research (MIR) Center will host a Dorper Ram Performance Test June 12 – Sept. 4, the first-ever U.S. test dedicated exclusively to the Dorper breed of sheep.

The Dorper test will be conducted in conjunction with the annual ASU Meat Goat Performance Test and will utilize the same principles to determine which of the rams are potentially superior breeding sires.

“We take them from their environment to a central location where we can remove feed differences, location and elevation differences based on where they were born, plus heat and environmental differences,” said Dr. Mike Salisbury, associate professor of animal science and test director. “We put them all in the same health program and provide them nutrition where it meets all their body’s needs for growth. That way, it allows us to remove all those environmental factors so that the true differences are genetic.”

Salisbury said the new test was initially proposed by the Texas Dorper Sheep Breeders Association.

“Just like in goats or any other breed of sheep, the faster we can get them to grow, the more economical they are,” Salisbury said. “But, we have to have a way to try to measure that to see how fast we can get them there.”

Dorper sheep are more commonly known as “hair sheep” since they do not produce wool and are bred mainly for slaughter and consumption. In recent years, with both the availability of shearing crews and the price of wool in decline, some West Texas sheep ranchers are turning to the Dorper breed over the traditional Rambouillet, Suffolk and cross-breeds.

The ASU Ranch (MIR Center) has also seen the possibilities for the Dorper breed and currently has a flock of about 30 at its facility just north of San Angelo.

For more information on the ASU Dorper Ram Performance Test, contact Salisbury at 942-2027.