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On-farm demonstration of adaptation and mitigation options for climate change across northern Australia.

Project start date: 20 June 2010
Project end date: 31 March 2013
Publication date: 01 January 2014
Livestock species: Grassfed cattle, Grainfed cattle
Download Report (6.2 MB)


The Dorper breed of sheep became very popular throughout Australia since they were first introduced in 1996 from South Africa.  

The main qualities of the breed that attract farmers are that they are an easy-care hair sheep with a high reproductive rate and growth potential.

Dorpers are also thought to be hardy and well suited to tough grazing conditions since they inhabit harsh environments in Africa.  Even though there has been a large increase in the numbers of Dorpers in Australia, there is little information on reproduction and nutrition of this breed under Australian conditions.

It is also unclear whether Dorpers possess adaptions to harsh grazing conditions that could give them production advantages over other breeds under grazing conditions in Australia, particularly in variable climates.   

This review did four main things: 

  1. Collate the information available on the reproductive and growth traits of the Dorper and compare these traits to other breeds, particularly the Merino since it is the most common breed in Australia. 
  2. Evaluate the best nutritional and management strategies for the Dorper so its production potential can be reached. 
  3. Investigate what adaptive advantages Dorpers may have to utilising low quality foods and whether these are likely to provide production benefits in Australian farming systems. 
  4. Identify gaps in research that warrant further investigation.

More information

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Primary researcher: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries