South African Meat Merino

South African Meat Merino

The South African Meat Merino or SAMM is a wool and meat sheep originating in South Africa, but now found throughout the world.

The SAMM is derived from "Deutsche Fleisch Merino" animals imported into South Africa from Europe in 1932, to improve the quality of wool and meat from sheep in South Africa. The "Deutsche Fleisch Merino" is a common meat sheep in Germany, Austria, and Poland. In South Africa, the German name was translated into Afrikaans as "Duits Vleis Merino" and then into English as "German Mutton Merino". The South African breed was recognised as separate in 1971 when the name was changed to South African Mutton Merino.

The SAMM has been developed as a versatile, hardy, polled dual-purpose breed. Ewes have a good maternal instinct and high milk production. Mature ewes will grow up to about Convert|95|kg|lb|abbr=on and rams to over Convert|100|kg|lb|abbr=on. Ewes will produce Convert|3.5|kg|lb|abbr=on to Convert|4.5|kg|lb|abbr=on of medium/strong wool. The wool is classified separately from the higher quality wool of Merinos, to avoid the risk of contamination of the latter with hair and kemp fibre from the SAMM wool. ["Australian Prime SAMM 2007/8", "Farm Weekly"]

The SAMM is bred specifically to produce a slaughter lamb at an early age (Convert|35|kg|lb|abbr=on at 100 days of age). In judging SAMMs the emphasis is on conformation (in relation to producing meat), 60%, and not on the animal's wool (40%).

SAMM rams have almost entirely replaced British breeds as terminal sires in the harsh regions of South Africa, where they (and their hybrids) are more adaptable than the former breeds. They were first imported into Australia in 1996.


*Stephens, M ("et al"), "Handbook of Australian Livestock", Australian Meat & Livestock Export Corporation, 2000 (4th ed), ISBN 1 74036 2160

External links

* [ Sheep 101 - a listing of sheep breeds including the SAMM]
* [ The Prime SAMM Society of Australia]

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