Sheep Breeding for Mountain Regions

B. C. Buffum
1906 Journal of Heredity  
67 ful advisability. It was found, however, that it is possible to take slips from the individual plant and root them after the manner of geranium slips. This is preferably accomplished in a greenhouse but it is probable that the operation successfully performed in the open if proper precautions were taken. By this means several hundred individual plants may be secured from a single plant during one season and a plot obtained which is of sufficient size to justify its
more » ... n, either by its distance from other plots or by lateral screenings so that the dangers from cross-pollination would be reduced to a minimum. It would appear from this that two years' time could be saved by the adoption of this method where for any reason but a single individual of a plant is at hand and it is desired to increase the stock for field tests. The effect of the continued inbreeding upon the vigor of the individuals when but one or a few mature plants are used is a matter yet to be determined but it has been thought best to make this method at once available to those who are interested in the work. It is not unlikely that this method can be applied to the clovers and other forage plants where for any reason the flowering or seeding habits are such as to present difficulties to the practical breeder. As the ideas presented are largely suggestive in character, it is hoped that the discussion will bring out interesting and helpful points. If there is any branch of animal industry in which systematic improvement is needed and in which such improvement promises large returns, it is in the great range sheep business of the arid region. In magnitude, the sheep industry of the mountain region is second to none. The sales of wool and mutton in the United States in a year are only second to those of cattle and more than four times as great as the value of horses sold in the open market. The value of sheep in the intermountain region now exceeds the value of our cattle and the conditions are so favorable to sheep production that this difference must increase rather than diminish. The present conditions of sheep breeding on our western ranges, however, are almost, if not quite, as bad as that of the breeding of horses by small farmers. There is every kind of blood, all degrees of grades and cross bloods, produced by the various experiments or rather whims of the sheepmen themselves. A few years ago flock masters were content with grading up the common Mexican sheep of the West for the production of more and better wool. In recent years, the growing demand for mutton has caused the sheepmen to try many forms of breeding for the production of feeder lambs, and such crossing often results disastrously to the wool crop. Almost every mutton breed has been used to cross upon the common Merino grades and there is no uniformity of prac-at University
doi:10.1093/jhered/os-2.1.67 fatcat:dlkt72igpbcyhnqtcltdutasaa