Henning Vorster’s father, Willem, founded the Paddadors SA Mutton Merino stud in 1951. A few years later, his mother established the Bella Vos Stud.

Over the years, these studs have been farmed as one, and today, Henning manages both, with a total of 250 ewes.

Willem groomed Henning from an early age to take over the family Mutton Merinos, and Henning recalls how he was able to attend livestock sales during school hours.

“From Grade 3 my father informed the school principal that I would be going to Mutton Merino sales,’’ he recalls. “When the principal protested, my dad asked him if he thought he was the only one educating his son.’’

In 1979, Henning systematically began taking over the family Mutton Merinos, which is run on the 1 000ha farm, Bloubosfontein, near Middleburg in the Eastern Cape.

By 1982, he had completely taken over the operation, and in 1992, he accepted a local teaching post to augment his income from the farm. Three years ago, he retired to focus on his flock.

Over the years, Henning has learnt a lot about Mutton Merinos, including that showing them can be counterproductive, and that line breeding can reap exceptional rewards.

Henning says that breeding extremes into sheep is never worthwhile.

“Nature always drives you back to the average,’’ he says. “You can do what you want.’’

Showing
Henning believes that the showing of Mutton Merinos is counterproductive, as it has created an environment in which large and often overweight sheep are accepted as the best.

He found it difficult to accept that to remain competitive, he would have to overfeed his medium-framed animals, which had adapted to farming conditions in the Karoo.

“I don’t believe in showing,’’ he says. “Every region has a type of sheep that is adapted to that particular area. A sheep in the Karoo is completely different to a sheep in Bothaville that lives on maize.’’

Henning adds that it is well known that overweight rams are often subfertile, if not infertile, and are often too lazy to mate.

Moreover, Henning has over the years noticed how the more medium-framed ewes are far more likely to produce multiple lambs.

The SA Mutton Merino Breeders’ Society has now taken the initiative in the stud industry by ensuring that all SA Mutton Merino rams sold at sales must have fertility certificates, while ewes are simply not allowed in the show ring anymore.

Furthermore, farmers are encouraged to upgrade their commercial flocks to stud status by using registered Mutton Merino rams.

Henning says he is pleased with these developments, and explains that stud farmers have a responsibility to supply commercial farmers with fertile and efficient sheep.

“The stud [farmer] has to provide quality sheep to the commercial farmer,’’ he says. “This is the most important aspect of the entire industry, because they [commercial farmers] want to make money from productive and fertile animals.’’

Line breeding
Henning says that there are no better sheep for his farm than his own. Therefore, he, like his father, has implemented strict line breeding techniques, and has been extremely cautious of purchasing rams that could introduce faults into his flock.

As such, Henning has not bought-in any rams for the past 15 years. If new genetics are needed, they are introduced by bought-in ewes, thereby making it easier to control the genetic impact on the flock.

“You must always keep control of half the genetic line. Line breeding is about replacing a good ram with a better son,’’ he says.

“It is a better option [to breed one’s own rams] with fewer risks because you know your genes.’’

Good quality wool.
Quality wool is an important selection criteria. The average fibre diameter of the entire wool clip is 21 microns, and Henning’s sheep have exceptionally even distributions of quality wool.

Each year, the best two to three rams bred on Bloubosfontein are kept for breeding before being sold. Henning also harvests significant amounts of semen straws from the rams he markets for use in a laparoscopic insemination programme.

It is thus ironic then that the last ram he bought-in produced his most influential, self-bred ram, Print (7050 WJV). Born in 2007, Print’s genetics have been ploughed back into the stud as much as possible.

For this, Henning has selected the best ewes to mate with Print over a 10-year period. This strategy has paid off handsomely, with Print producing several award-winning rams, including Meerkat (5085 ISA), the record-priced ram at the 2017 National Sale in Bloemfontein, as well as five other rams that achieved the top price at other national sales since 2012.

Henning sells about 22 rams a year. He ascribes the solid demand for his Mutton Merino genetics to the fertility and adaptability of his flock. He says the rugged farming conditions in the Karoo allows the progeny of his sheep to flourish in areas where more feed is available.

Feeding and lambing
Henning has planted pastures around the outbuildings on the farm, where two boreholes provide 20 000ℓ and 22 000ℓ of water an hour respectively.

Submersible solar pumps feed a Permaset irrigation system on 4ha of established triticale and oats, while another 4ha are being prepared for cultivation. These pastures help support the Mutton Merino flock, that share Bloubosfontein with 120 Meatmaster ewes and 45 Brahman cows.

Seventy percent of all Henning’s Mutton Merino ewes produce multiples, which has boosted the weaning rate to 170% at 90 days, with an average weaning weight of 45kg, and some ram lambs weighing as much as 60kg. Every year, about 30 replacement ewes are put to rams at 18 months.

Fertility and weight gain in the flock is optimised by a strict and balanced feeding regimen. Ewes receive 50g of maize a day, with lucerne bales provided ad lib on the veld for the first five weeks before mating and laparoscopic insemination.

In the final week before mating, the maize ration is increased to 100g, which ewes will continue to receive until they lamb, depending on the quality of the veld.

Ewes lamb in March/April in small camps around a shed fitted with lambing pens. Once born, lambs and ewes are transferred to the lambing pens, where ewes receive the maize and lucerne ration.

After about three days, the lambs and ewes are transferred back to the small camps around the shed, where the ewes continue to feed on the maize and lucerne.

After two weeks, lambs and ewes are returned to the veld, and lambs are fed a creep feed from 14 days to 150 days.

Thereafter, lambs receive lucerne bales and a Fostec P6 lick until the age of 10 months. Selected ram lambs also receive 150g of pellets/ day until they are marketed, and young ewes are run on the veld and supplied with a Fostec P6 lick, as are all other smallstock on the veld.

Agribusiness Information

319 COMMENTS

  1. Please let me know if you’re looking for a writer for your blog.

    You have some really good posts and I think I would be a good asset.

    If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d really like to
    write some content for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine.
    Please send me an email if interested. Cheers!

  2. Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thank you,
    However I am having issues with your RSS. I don’t understand why I cannot join it.
    Is there anybody else having similar RSS problems?
    Anyone who knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanks!!

  3. Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as long as I provide credit and
    sources back to your blog? My blog site is in the exact same
    area of interest as yours and my users would truly benefit from a lot of the information you present here.
    Please let me know if this alright with you.

    Appreciate it!

  4. Hello this is kind of of off topic but I was wanting
    to know if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code
    with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding expertise so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  5. Hey there! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new apple iphone!
    Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all
    your posts! Carry on the great work!

  6. hello!,I really like your writing so a lot! share we be in contact more approximately your post on AOL? I require an expert in this space to unravel my problem. Maybe that’s you! Having a look ahead to peer you.

  7. Aw, this was a very nice post. Taking the time and actual effort to make a very good articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I procrastinate a whole lot and never seem to get nearly anything done.

  8. Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This isan extremely well written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark itand return to read more of your useful info. Thanksfor the post. I will definitely comeback.

  9. I like the helpful information you provide in your articles.I’ll bookmark your blog and check again here regularly.I’m quite certain I’ll learn many new stuff righthere! Good luck tips for first time the next!

  10. Heya i’m for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It trulyuseful & it helped me out much. I hope to give something back and aid others like you helpedme.

  11. Through friends effexor first 2 weeks Those arrested or removed from the chamber included four women who tried to chain themselves to a railing in the gallery. One of the women was successful in chaining herself, prompting a 10-minute recess.

  12. Hey therte jst wanted to give you a quick hewds up and let you know a fewof the imnages aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue.I’ve tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same results.

  13. I have to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in penning this website. I am hoping to check out the same high-grade content by you later on as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own, personal blog now 😉

  14. Spot on with this write-up, I seriously believe that this website needs a great deal more attention. I’ll probably be back again to read through more, thanks for the info!

  15. I’m excited to find this site. I need to to thank you for your time for this fantastic read!! I definitely savored every little bit of it and i also have you bookmarked to see new stuff on your blog.

  16. Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in truth was once a amusement account it.Look advanced to more delivered agreeable from you!However, how could we keep up a correspondence?

  17. Aw, this was an extremely good post. Spending some time and actual effort to create a really good article… but what can I say… I hesitate a lot and never seem to get nearly anything done.

  18. Good day! This post could not be written any better!Reading this post reminds me of my good oldroom mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this write-up to him.Fairly certain he will have a good read.Many thanks for sharing!

  19. Very good site you have here but I was wondering
    if you knew of any forums that cover the same topics talked about here?
    I’d really like to be a part of community where I can get responses from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest.
    If you have any recommendations, please let me know.
    Kudos!

  20. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is wonderful blog. A great read. I’ll definitely be back.

  21. Hello I am so excited I found your webpage, I really found you
    by error, while I was searching on Askjeeve for something else, Nonetheless I am
    here now and would just like to say thank you for a fantastic post and a all round entertaining blog
    (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to browse it all at the
    moment but I have saved it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I
    will be back to read more, Please do keep up the great work.

  22. Wow, wonderful blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
    you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is wonderful,
    as well as the content!

  23. An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a coworker who was doing a little research on this. And he in fact bought me dinner because I discovered it for him… lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending the time to talk about this subject here on your web site.

  24. Somebody necessarily assist to make critically articles I might
    state. That is the very first time I frequented your website page and up to now?
    I amazed with the analysis you made to make this particular
    post amazing. Magnificent process!

  25. Excellent post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed! Extremely helpful info particularly the last part 🙂 I care for such info much. I was looking for this certain information for a long time. Thank you and good luck.

  26. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article. I will make sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I?ll certainly return.

  27. I’d like to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in writing this site. I really hope to see the same high-grade blog posts by you in the future as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own blog now 😉

  28. A fascinating discussion is definitely worth comment. I think that you should publish more on this topic, it may not be a taboo matter but typically people do not speak about these issues. To the next! All the best!!

  29. Aw, this was an extremely nice post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to create a superb article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a whole lot and don’t seem to get anything done.

  30. Hello there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it is truly informative. I?m gonna watch out for brussels. I?ll be grateful if you continue this in future. Numerous people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  31. I will right away grasp your rss feed as I can not to find your email subscription link or newsletter service. Do you have any? Please let me understand so that I could subscribe. Thanks.

  32. The very next time I read a blog, I hope that it does not fail me just as much as this particular one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, nonetheless I actually believed you would have something useful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of crying about something you could possibly fix if you were not too busy searching for attention.

  33. Hello this is somewhat of off topic but I was wanting to know
    if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with
    HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding knowledge so I wanted to get advice from someone
    with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!

  34. Großartig Beat ! Ich möchte lernen, während Sie Ihre website ändern, wie kann ich einen Blog website abonnieren? Das Konto hat mir zu einem akzeptablen Geschäft geholfen. Ich war winzig von dieser deiner Sendung angeboten hell klar Konzept

  35. Hi there! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could get a captcha plugin formy comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having difficulty finding one?Thanks a lot!

  36. hi!,I like your writing very much! share we communicate more about your post on AOL? I require an expert on this area to solve my problem. May be that’s you! Looking forward to see you.

  37. Hi, I do think this is an excellent site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I will come back once again since i have book marked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.

  38. Nanti baunya tidak sesuai bau aslinya gimana…bagaimana jika baunya di hack ?Jangan-jangan bisa mendeteksi seseorang melalui aroma keringatnya…seperti mengingat aroma tubuh mantan ..aduh sepertinya keren jika bau bisa ditransfer dan disimpan ?

  39. Having read this I believed it was extremely informative. I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this article together. I once again find myself spending a significant amount of time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worthwhile.

  40. After I originally commented I seem to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on every time a comment is added I receive four emails with the same comment. There has to be an easy method you are able to remove me from that service? Thanks a lot.

  41. Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Many thanks, However I am going through troubles with your RSS. I don’t know why I cannot subscribe to it. Is there anybody else getting identical RSS problems? Anybody who knows the answer can you kindly respond? Thanks!!

  42. Thanks for another great post. Where else may anybody get that type of info in such an ideal way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I’m at the search for such information.

  43. Hello there! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could get a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having problems finding one? Thanks a lot!

  44. Vielen Dank dafür, dass Sie dies mit allen Leute geteilt haben, die Sie wirklich verstehen, was Sie sind sprechen ungefähr! Markiert. Mit freundlichen Grüßen auch Konsultieren Sie mit meiner Site =). Wir können eine hyperlink Alternative Vereinbarung zwischen uns!

  45. Hi, I do believe this is a great blog. I stumbledupon it 😉 I am going to revisit yet again since i have book marked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.

  46. You can definitely see your enthusiasm within the paintings you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to mention how they believe. All the time follow your heart.

  47. I’m very happy to uncover this site. I want to to thank you for your time due to this wonderful read!! I definitely appreciated every bit of it and I have you book-marked to see new information on your web site.

  48. Great paintings! This is the type of info that should be shared across the web. Disgrace on the seek engines for not positioning this submit higher! Come on over and discuss with my web site . Thanks =)

  49. I absolutely love your site.. Great colors & theme. Did you make this web site yourself? Please reply back as I’m looking to create my own website and want to find out where you got this from or exactly what the theme is named. Appreciate it!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here