March is Micron Testing Time

All our lambs we retained from 2019 become yearlings on their spring birthdays this year, and the yearlings we retained turn 2 years old on their spring birthdays in 2020.  We cut a lock from midside over last rib every year on all our sheep  so that we can grade each fleece accurately for FFSSA and sales once sheep are sheared.  It is especially important to sample all yearlings when they are at least 22 months old so we can test midside samples to qualify them for permanent FFSSA fleece performance registration.  All our sheep end up being dual-registered with NASSA and FFSSA if they qualify for both, which most do.  The two samples in photos are from two of the 8 2019 lambs we retained.  We retained only 3 yearlings, 2 ewes and one ram, so we waited until each was 22 months old before testing.  The youngest, the ram, became 22 months old March 1, so we took his sample Sunday and yesterday we priority-mailed all 20 samples from our flock with payment to the wool lab in TX with the form pictured.  It will take about 2 weeks to receive e-mailed results.  The two yearling ewes were bred last fall based on 2019 fleece tests, likewise we bred the yearling ram to 5 ewes based on his 2019 fleece test results.  This year we expect all 3 yearlings to qualify for permanent FFSSA registration, but maybe once every 2-3 years perhaps one yearling’s fleece will change more than we expected.  Qualifying requirements for FFSSA’s permanent fleece performance registry have been set up to assure that breeding sheep who meet qualifications at 22 months old will remain soft and kindly, single-coated, for a longer time than non-qualifying sheep and will be more likely to produce lambs with kindly fleeces as well.

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