CONSERVATION OF THE NAMAQUA AFRIKANER BY THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
1M.A. Snyman & J.J. Olivier, 2J.A.N. Cloete & T. Buys, 3M.L. Jonker
1Grootfontein Agricultural Development Institute, P/Bag X529, Middelburg, 5900, South Africa
2Carnarvon Experimental Station, P.O. Box 98, Carnarvon, 8925, South Africa
3Vaalharts Research Station, Private Bag X9, Jan Kempdorp, 8550, South Africa
Two Namaqua Afrikaner flocks are maintained by the Department of Agriculture at two of its experimental stations near the towns of Carnarvon and Upington in the Northern Cape Province. These flocks are kept for the purpose of the preservation of this genetic pool and the collection of production and reproduction data on this breed. The Namaqua Afrikaner is one of the oldest sheep breeds in South Africa and was facing extinction when the Department of Agriculture bought one of the last purebred flocks. This flock has been kept at the Carnarvon Experimental Station since 1962. In March 1985, 30 ewes and 5 rams from the Carnarvon flock were transferred to the Tarka Conservation Area near Hofmeyr in the Eastern Cape Province. Their numbers were let to increase to approximately 100 breeding ewes. In 1991 this flock was transferred to the Grootfontein Agricultural Development Institute. Since August 1995, the flock is run at the Karakul Experimental Station near Upington.
No specific selection is carried out in either flock. The ewe flock at Carnarvon consists of 105 ewes, which are mated annually for a five-week period during April. For the purpose of keeping inbreeding as low as possible, the ewes in the Carnarvon flock are divided into three groups. Young ewes are replaced within the same group, while rams from the different groups are used on a rotational basis between the three groups. All rams are replaced annually with young rams. Up until 2001, the animals in the Upington flock were run in a free-mating system and surplus rams and young ewes were culled annually on a random basis. Six to eight rams per 100 ewes were kept. Since 2000, the same mating and replacement procedures are followed in the Upington flock as in the Carnarvon flock. Reliable data on the production and reproduction potential of Namaqua Afrikaner sheep have been collected on these two flocks and the results been published.
Surplus rams and ewes of these flocks are made available to the public. Animals have also been made available to museums and other institutions. In this way the Department attempts to make these scarce genetic material available to other people and institutions interested in conserving this ancient breed.
SNYMAN, M.A. & COETZEE, J., 1993. Namakwas - Vetstert met lang teelseisoen. Landbouweekblad, 27 Augustus 1993
SNYMAN, M.A., HERSELMAN, M.J. & CLOETE, J.A.N., 1996. Carcass characteristics of Namaqua Afrikaner lambs. Congress DAB-SASAS, Pilansberg, 1-4 October
SNYMAN, M.A., OLIVIER, J.J. & CLOETE, J.A.N., 1993. Productive and reproductive performance of Namaqua Afrikaner sheep. Karoo Agric, 5(2) : 21-24
SNYMAN, M.A., OLIVIER, J.J., & CLOETE, J.A.N., 1996. Economic comparison of Namaqua Afrikaner sheep with other breeds during drought. Congress DAB-SASAS, Pilansberg, 1-4 October
SNYMAN, M.A., OLIVIER, J.J., CLOETE, J.A.N. & STEYN, M.J., 1996. Conservation of the Namaqua Afrikaner by the Department of Agriculture. Congress DAB-SASAS, Pilansberg, 1-4 October
SNYMAN, M.A., OLIVIER, J.J., OLIVIER, W.J. & CLOETE, J.A.N., 1996. Production and reproduction potential of Namaqua Afrikaner sheep. Congress DAB-SASAS, Pilansberg, 1-4 October
SNYMAN, M.A., VAN HEERDEN, M. & KING, B.R., 2002. Effect of docking on growth, carcass quality, fat distribution and reproductive performance of Namaqua Afrikaner sheep. Grootfontein Agric, 5(1) : 7-11