Previous work has shown that, within an Angora goat flock, clean fleece weight is proportional to fleece-free liveweight (FFLwt)2/3 and for goats of the same age and cohort, the mean mohair fibre diameter is proportional to FFLwt1/3. This indicates that fibre length might not be related to the size of animals. This study examines how mohair staple length (SL) is related to FFLwt of Angora goats of different genetic origins over their lifetime and how the relationship varies with other lifetime factors. Measurements were made over 11 shearing periods on a population of Angora goats representing the current range and diversity of genetic origins in Australia, including South African, Texan and interbred admixtures of these and Australian sources. Records of breed, sire, dam, date of birth, dam age, birthweight, birth parity, weaning weight, liveweight, fleece growth and fleece quality were taken for castrated males (wethers) (n = 94 animals). FFLwt were determined for each goat at shearing time by subtracting the greasy fleece weight from the liveweight recorded immediately before shearing. The average of the FFLwt at the start of the period and the FFLWt at the end of the period was calculated. Liveweight change (LwtCh) was the change in FFLwt over the period between shearings. A restricted maximum likelihood model was developed for SL, which allowed the observations of the same animal at different ages to be correlated in an unstructured manner. Average SL differed from ~12.0 to ~14.5 cm, depending on age. There were no consistent effects of season. At any age, an increase of 10 kg LwtCh between animals results in about a 0.34 (s.e. = 0.087) cm increase in SL. There was no evidence of an effect of FFLwt on SL. The results confirm our hypothesis that within a single age cohort of Angora goats, there is very little, if any, relationship between the liveweight and SL of individual animals. This implies that the biological determinants of size of fibres related to cross-sectional area are substantially different to the size determinants of fibre length.
Field of Research
070203 Animal Management 070299 Animal Production not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective
830599 Primary Animal Products not elsewhere classified
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