- I raise apparel wool and am committed to educate more consumers as well as producers to the importance of ITCH FREE wool, where it comes from, and how it can make an impact to reduce plastics in our wearables and home goods. I am also committed to leaving our wool industry better than I found it.
- Though a more valuable grade of fiber than meat breeds, dairy breeds or carpet breeds, Apparel wool sheep shear a lighter fleece than others so the economics are cost prohibitive for commodity growers.
- Where I provide quality control and aggregation to other wool growers, my growers are aging out of the industry. I need to create a higher yielding fleece on my farm, secure new contract growers, and want to leave a legacy of improved genetics for Maine’s fiber breeds as Katahdin has done for meat breeds.
- Where I am a solo operator, and aging myself!, I wanted to find better and more efficient technologies to capture necessary field data as I handle the livestock. Where I breed for parasite resistance, hoof integrity, fleece weights, fleece micron, in addition to standard weights and measures etc., I wanted a mechanism to capture, store and cross reference the data against the flock, score them accordingly, and develop a breed registry with the most efficient producers. This is the subject of the RFID technology and the improved smartphone APP.
The specific goal of this project is to improve the genetics of my flock in order to increase the fleece weights with imported Polwarth Genetics via laparoscopic AI in the fall of 2017 and 2018. This will provide much more efficiency of production that other farms can benefit from. From this base genetics, I intend to create a breed registry, as the only verified Polwarth breeder in the US. The secondary goal of this project is to create a better, more efficient field record keeping system, using RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) with Bluetooth connectivity to smartphone technology that will interface with computerized record keeping as the basis for this registry.
Objective 1. To clip more wool, comparing 20 years of fleece weights on lambs and hoggets, to the improved genetics’ fleece weights in 2018 and 2019.
Objective 2. To have breeding rams, ewes and semen for sale by the summer of 2019.
Objective 3. To develop a market protocol for culls as summer feeders on other farms, where I would buy back the wool at increased commercial value before slaughter.
Objective 4. To expand the smartphone APP for sheep currently offered and recently released for RFID tags on sheep called Smart List.
Objective 5. To make more money with sheep by adding value and creating efficiencies.
Imported Semen Sept. 2017. Selected ewes for breeding and inserted RFID ear tags, Flushed ewes for breeding fall 2017. Inserted CIDR’s Dec. 7, removed CIDR’s, gave PG 6000 injections, and turned in ram with teaser harness Dec. 19. Performed Laparoscopic AI on 50 ewes Dec. 21, noting semen motility on each collected straw, weight of each ewe, and general condition. Turned in cleanup ram 1 January 2018. Planning to do pregnancy checks 1/18/18. Will take fleece samples on all ewes for OFDA at shearing time in April. We will vasectomize a ram for teasing in the 2018 breeding season.
There are no results to report at this time. One BIG note though is the timing of this breeding as it was just before the weather turned very cold. Next year (2018) we will plan to breed in October and make significant note of conception rates as per breed timing.