University of Arkansas obtains Dorper sheep to study forages

In *All, Livestock by Ag is America

Animal science researchers at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture have attained Dorper sheep to help examine forage and digestion issues. Prior to the Dorper Sheep researchers were buying lambs. However, this was a constant problem because the researchers knew nothing about the lamb’s genetics, heath status or age which made it hard for the groups of lamb to be in uniform. Frustrated with an inconsistent group of lambs, Darren Bignar, the program technician for the Division of Agriculture’s animal science department, began looking for alternative breeds and found that the Dorper sheep was a good match. The Dorper sheep offer a variety of advantages as Bignar noted that they’re heat, cold and parasite resistant. They also don’t shed, which is a major plus. And third, the babies are born the same size at the same time, giving a uniform animal to work with, something that quickly became very important to the researchers.

Used for digestion studies, the researchers will look at urine and feces and how the different forages affect it. They will begin by applying the urine and feces to the soil and will look at gas emissions. After they collect their results, they will further investigate how to manage the diet of the sheep to reduce their environmental impact. This has become an exciting project for Bignar as it has opened new doors for him. Bignar said that because the Dorper sheep have made this project so much easier, he sees opportunities for Dorper sheep to be used in future projects.

If you would like to learn more about Doper sheep or this research, read more here.

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