COMPARISON OF TEXAS RAMBOUILLET SHEEP WITH MERINO F1 CROSSES AND THEIR WOOL AS IT UNDERGOES MANUFACTURING WITHIN THE UNITED STATES APPAREL INDUSTRY
Due to rising feed and labor costs, producers raising range sheep prefer less management-intensive operations. This study aimed to increase income from traditional Texas Rambouillet ewes by increasing wool production and improving wool quality without causing a reduction in lamb production and without incurring increased inputs in the form of labor or nutrition by crossbreeding Texas Rambouillet ewes with Australian Merino sires. Additionally, the wool produced by both the Rambouillet (R) offspring and the Merino x Rambouillet (MR) offspring underwent additional testing throughout production and manufacturing of garments suitable for active wear clothing. Fiber diameter was decreased and total wool production and staple length were increased by the MR offspring compared to the R control animals. The R offspring exhibited greater weaning weights. In the fabric and garment testing, the MR and R wool performed very similarly and both are highly suitable for use in garments within the active wear market.