Angora goat in France
(Daniel Allain & Jean Michel Roguet, France)
The population of Angora goats in France is about 8000 pure bred animals, on 180 farms. The production of mohair is 30 tonnes per year. It is graded and processed centrally and the final product is sold directly to consumers.
The breeding objective is to have an 18-month angora goat producing a high clean fleece weight, with an average fibre diameter less than 30 microns, free of kemp and medulation.
A National Selection Scheme does exist in France. It involves an open nucleus population of 5000 pure breed animals including 1500 breeding females, based on 50 farms. A performance recording system and a genetic database are in place, which allow a breeding value evaluation.
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2-The production criteria
The mohair quantity (fleece weight) is the main determinant of income. The mohair quality is the key factor for final textile use. The mohair quality is assessed through the fibre diameter (mean less than 26 microns up to 38 microns) and its homogeneity, the pureness (yield of clean mohair and rate of undesirable fibres) and some other characteristics, such as fibre length, lustre, softness and colour). The final textile use depends on the process used (woollen or combing, weaving or knitting), the fineness and solidity of the yarn, the spinning yield (content of ash, fat and vegetable matter), the dying faults (medulated and pigmented fibres) and the specific textile use (specific characteristics of mohair). The meat and skin bring an additional income.
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3-The French Angora goat breeding scheme:
3-1-Performance recording system
On the farm, there is an individual registration, with a number tattooed on ears at weaning. The pedigree and reproduction information are collected via the recording of the date of mating and the sire identification, as well as the date of kidding and the litter size. The shearing is done at 6 month intervals, the date and greasy fleece weight are noted. The fleece assessment is done by a scoring committee, at 15-18 months of age. There is first a visual judgement, concerning the lock type and its uniformity over the body, the body cover and the kemp score. The objective measurements concern the staple length on the shoulder, the yield of clean mohair and the fibre diameter distribution.
3-2-Fleece characteristics measurements
The objective measurements are, on the farm, the staple length at the shoulder and the greasy fleece weight. In the laboratory, the yield of clean mohair (ITF-INRA method) and the mean fibre diameter and fibre distribution (OFDA method) are done.
For the fleece assessment, the lock type and its uniformity over 4 zones on the body are studied (flat, crimp or twisted). The kemp is scored from 1 to 5, on 5 zones over the body. The body cover is scored from 1 to 10.
3-3-The genetic database structure
There are 10 independent files, concerning the pedigree, the fleece weight, the fleece assessment, the fleece measurement, reproductive performance, the farm identification, the animal identification, the animal location, the breeding buck and the animal's breeding value.
The database was created in 1988. The data collection allows a regular information exchange (paper listing, disk) between the database and the farm, the laboratory or the scoring committee. It is an aid to the farmers, via data analysis, annual technical reports and the breeding value estimation.
Concerning the fibre measurements, the medulation (kemp and medulated fibre rate) needs to be measured. The homogeneity of the fleece should be assessed, with a mean fibre diameter, fibre distribution and medulation over the body, a fleece sampling ought to be done, but what would be the cost per animal? The animal age at the fibre measurement should be recorded.
Concerning the genetic database, it would be sensible to develop a relational database and to improve the data flow (automatisation of the data collection, use of modern telecommunication, such as videotex or Internet).
3-5-Buck testing station
It was created in 1995. Thirty bucks, aged 1 year, were admitted in February. They needed one month of adaptation. A testing period of 5 months from March to August was scheduled. The fleece assessment was done before and after the testing period. It included the recording of greasy and clean fleece weight, the mean fibre diameter distribution, the kemp score, fleece homogeneity, the style and character, body cover and staple length. The culling rate was 20% .
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4-Improvement programme for angora goats
To improve the fibre traits, both quantity and quality, via the fleece weight, fibre diameter and medulation content.
To improve the general productivity, in term of reproduction and body growth.
To improve the fleece characteristic measurements, the selection pressure and culling.
Concerning the performance data management, the objectives are to improve the performance recording, the database and the breeding value estimation. For the reproductive programme, the idea is to increase the offspring number per selected animal.
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