The Merino Sheep & Wool Experts Society was established in 1928 to standardise the classing and judging of Merino sheep in South Africa, according to Farmer’s Weekly
After the 1955 to 1960 ‘wool boom’, the government implemented a stock reduction scheme to protect the veld from Merino overstocking.
As many farmers sold or slaughtered sheep to survive, the society expanded its brief to include advice on flock management and feeding.
In 2012, to accommodate other wool breeds, the society changed its name to the Sheep & Wool Experts of South Africa.
Cape Wools keeps accurate statistics on wool production in South Africa.
“We work with them to ensure we keep the wool classing accurate,” says Sheep & Wool Experts president John Melville.
This includes training shearers and inspecting shearing sheds, both of which are of the utmost importance in maintaining the high standard of wool classing in South Africa.
Code of conduct
“In addition, the society has played a big role in formulating the code of conduct for sheep and wool experts and the method of judging sheep,” he explains.
“Ideally, we would like every official who does inspection at stud sales to be a member of the society, because we’re up to date with all the breed standards.”
Every few years, officials get together to review breed standards to ensure they remain applicable to modern sheep.
“On occasion, some of the breeder associations will contact us to revise their breed standards,” says Melville.
“We’re always willing to help, because the sheep and wool experts are in the veld and the sheep kraals across South Africa. We see at first-hand what’s working for the breed.”
Source: Farmer’s Weekly