Rubicon Merino forms the third branch on Gelykfontein. In the 1969 drought with literally no grazing, Schalk and his late father JC van der Walt, bred “Pleaded Merinos”. When wool prices also started falling, they bought the first Letelle rams. Eventually they replaced all the merinos with Letelle sheep, that stayed on the veld all the time.
CHARACTERISTICS OF OUR RUBICON MERINO SHEEP:
- Genetic super fine wool (15 to 20 micron)
- Dual purpose on a mutton carcass
- Hardy with very good mothering abilities
- Indigenous Merino type
- Emphasis is placed on the best possible balance between top quality wool and mutton production
- Characteristics: Hardiness
- Strong prepotency
- Sustained vitality
- Exceptional fertility.
- Wool coefficient of variation is the lowest of all breeds.
Ram lambs are weaned, 50% are sold, the other 50% remain in the veld and shorn at five to seven months old. When 12 months old, they are shorn again and each ram and its wool are separately weighed. The wool are sent to Grootfontein Agricultural College for performance testing. The average weight of these rams at 12 months are 70 kilograms.
Ewes are selected at 14 months old and marked in the ear with a Rubicon Tag. By this time they already have lambs because they conceive early and already have the ability to give birth to a lamb. Culled ewes are sold commercially or for slaughter.
Older ewes conceive around October and again in April, which means two lambing periods in one year, one before winter and the other, after winter.
All sheep are shorn yearly, an operation that fits in well with the farming activities. Young rams has an average of 17,5 micron (Fibre thickness) at 12 months of age.
Schalk’s Rubicon Merino Stud currently consists of 650 selected ewes. Because they are only the best selected stud ewes, fewer need to be kept, for a higher income. About 1200 commercial ewes would have been necessary for the same income.
Important factors about the Rubicon Merino, they lamb easily because lambs are not too big at birth, they hardly ever abandon a lamb, have lots of milk and raise their lambs with ease. They have a strong constitution and round conformation, so they still deliver about 3,7 kilograms of super fine wool each per year, after raising a lamb or two.