Volume 17, No. 1, 2001
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Advantages of Multispecies Grazing: Perceptions of Idaho and Wyoming Producers
Authors: K. Falxa, L.W. Van Tassell and J.P. Hewlett
This study reports findings of a survey aimed at examining whether complementarity in sheep and cattle production is recognized by producers and is an important factor in the maintenance of both enterprises by ranchers in Idaho and Wyoming. Over 80% of respondents felt their cattle and sheep enterprises had some degree of integration and complemented on another. This complementarity was created by the dietary selection, grazing behavior and the social structure of sheep and cattle. While the sheep enterprise was the most labor intensive, labor and equipment requirements of the two enterprises were seen as being complementary. Profitability and cash flow additionally were aided by the diversification provided from maintaining both a sheep and cattle enterprise. The majority of producers felt that fluctuations in prices and production between sheep and cattle enterprises were somewhat offsetting. While 70% of respondents felt sheep had been historically more profitable than cattle, more respondents assigned a higher probability that they would abandon the sheep business before the cattle business because of recent trends in the industry.
Key Words: Survey, Multispecies grazing, Complementary products, Diversification.
Prickle Factor in Fleeces of Performance-tested Fine-wool Rams
Authors: C.J. Pupton, D.F. Waldron and F.A. Pfeiffer
Prickle factor (PF, % of fibers > than 30 µm) is an indicator of the relative comfort of wool fabrics worn next to the skin. Fiber diameter distributions were measured (with an Optical Fibre Diameter Analyzer) in three consecutive years of core samples of unskirted fleeces from 524 fine-wool rams completing a central performance test. These measurements were used to establish PF, average fiber diameter (AFD), SD, and CV in fleeces produced under the unfavorable (from a wool fineness and uniformity perspective) test conditions and to determine relationships among PF and fiber fineness and variability. As part of the normal performance test routine, AFD, SD, and DV were measured on side and britch samples of each fleece. The AFD of side samples was used in the index of overall merit and AFD of side and britch samples constituted as independent rejection criteria for ram certification. Core sample PF, AFD, SD, and DV average 5.5%, 22.3 µm, 4.4 µm, and 20.0% and ranged from 0.4 to 25.3%, 17.3 to 26.8 µm, 3.1 to 6.4 µm, and 15.2 to 28.6% respectively. The PF, SD, and CV did not differ among years (P > o.05). It has been suggested that only wools having low PF (< 2%) be used in apparel worn next to the skin. Only 18% of the fleeces were in this category. Stepwise multiple regression analysis was used to predict PF using all measured variables plus AFD squared (AFD2) and differences between side and britch AFD resulted in core AFD2, core AFD, britch SD, core SD, side DV, and core DV entering the equation. No other variable met the 0.01 significance level for entry into the model. Partial r2 values for the first three variables were 0.82, 0.10, and 0.03, respectively. This result was essentially unchanged when fleeces (349) having core, side, and britch AFD > 23.6, 24.9, and 27.8 µm, respectively (i.e., from coarse, uncertifiable rams) were excluded from the analysis. Most of the variability in PF can be accounted for by core data alone, i.e., PF = 199.57 + 0.46* AFD2 – 19.33* AFD + 6.01* SD – 1.01* CV, r2 = 0.94.
Key Words: Prickle factor, Wool, Ram performance testing