“My father, John Albertyn, and my husband André and I have all put great effort into breeding sheep with good wool qualities, resulting in the flock looking totally different from what it did two generations ago,” says Pam Christie-Smith, who belongs to the sixth generation on the farm. I first heard of merino wool being used in sportswear about 10 years ago when Icebreaker, the New Zealand merino clothing company, entered the South African market. However, the garments were, and still are, very expensive… That’s where CORE Meri… The wethers receive supplementary feed, such as Condition Lick or Econo Lick, but are kept in larger camps. Merino Wool South Africa was invited to the Mohair Summit with a Merino Wool range, made by fashion designer Karen Ter Morshuizen, from Lunar. It is also known as SAMM or South African Mutton Merino sheep. The Merino originated in Spain. This guarantees the ethical treatment of our flocks. With the sheep being grouped according to their ages and ewes being kept separate from wethers, André has been able to develop full traceability from the wool to a group of animals, without using any special electronics. Ethically sourced wool products begin with flocks of hardy Merino sheep grazing on green grass in the shadow of jagged peaks. Merino South Africa, the representative body of all Merino farmers and stud breeders, founded in 1937, says Merino is by far the largest sheep breed in South Africa with about 13 million sheep and 2 500 farmers. He has bought special feeding troughs with enough space to enable all the sheep in a camp to feed with ease simultaneously. Changing the shearing interval has meant that the ewes are now shorn just before they lamb, ensuring they are in a better condition to look after their young, says André. This long history has established woolgrowers who have a keen appreciation of how to care for their animals and the environment. Because I’m not a stud breeder, I don’t buy the most expensive animals, but usually end up buying animals slightly below the average sales price of the day.”. Pam says that Merinos are notoriously bad mothers, but John addressed this by not raising orphan lambs, and culling ewes that did not look after their lambs. The South African Meat Merino or SAMM is a wool and meat sheep originating in South Africa, but now found throughout the world. They are not polled, so can stand their ground against most predators. Our sheep are raised to roam. Merino SA is affiliated internationally and is a member of the World Federation of Merino Breeders. South Africa is mainly producing a Merino clip, which comprises over 80% of all lots offered for sale. Steps taken in South Africa to prevent Mulesing, • The South African Merino has, over the years, been bred for less skin folds. The lambing percentage has increased from 71% to 114% over the same time. The wethers are castrated at six weeks of age and weaned along with the lamb ewes at about four months of age, depending on veld conditions. The Albertyn family started keeping records of the flock in 1942, and travelled across South Africa in search of superior Merino rams to improve it. Wool is obtained from the fleece of sheep, muskoxen, goats, rabbits, camelids, and other animals that possess long hair. Young ewes weigh about 90% of their adult weight (65kg on average) when they are placed with the rams. While they sometimes lose a couple of animals to predation, primarily honey badgers, he sees this as part of “nature’s share”. Regia Premium looks particularly attractive in small Fair Isle and plait patterns. It’s 100% natural, 100% renewable and totally biodegradable too.