If you have ever heard of Merino sheep and their importance, but you don’t know much about them, this is your article! Next, we will tell you why this breed is so successful throughout the history of the breeds. sheep in Spain .
First of all, the first thing you have to know is that it is a breed originally from Spain., but today it has reached many other parts of the world due to its great quality of wool and other products. Therefore, if you want to know What repercussion did the arrival of these sheep have in Spain and how was their exploitation and production organized, read on.
Importance of sheep in Spain and its history
From the mid-15th century to the mid-17th century Spain dominated the international wool market. This is because our country was the cradle of the Merino , since the breed was located exclusively here and allowed its exploitation and production to be selected and organized.
Firstly, the kings and rulers were interested in the development of this species, so a protectionist legislation was created that granted great privileges to the shepherds who had this breed of sheep in their possession. For this reason, production was organized and the development of large historic cabins was encouraged. Also I know it prohibited the export of animals of the Merino breed , at the same time that strong controls were established on the output of wool.
Between the 18th and 19th centuries , the Merino breed was exported outside of Spain to the five continents, due to the large number of benefits it has. In Spain, for For economic reasons , today the productive orientation of this breed has changed towards meat and cheese.
But what really characterizes the sheep in Spain is the production of fine wool, since today it is one of the most internationally traded products. This is due to the great amount and length of hair, which reaches limits not surpassed by any other breed and the high fiber density that exceeds up to four times that of other breeds. In addition, it is also due to other factors, such as the fineness and uniformity of the fibers, curling, resistance, the absence of dead hair and claw, among others.
Lastly, the wool fibers are grouped to form rectangular strands whose tips are held together by the binding action of the suarda, configuring a characteristic drawing of the fleece with a closed and compact appearance.
Environmental and social importance of sheep in Spain
Sheep in Spain also have a great environmental role , promoting its conservation thanks to the type of livestock that is practiced with it, transhumance. This practice also contributes to the construction of connections of a social nature, favoring union of isolated towns of the Iberian Peninsula with others further afield.
Transhumance, defined as livestock in which the shepherd is in constant movement, favors the fertility of the fields thanks to the excrement of the animal. In addition, thanks to the feeding of the natural pastures of this species, a decrease in profitability caused by the purchase of feed is avoided. This type of food also takes advantage of resources that are not suitable for human consumption, thus avoiding competition from them.
In addition to transhumance, transterminance is also practiced , differing from the first in that its movements do not cover long distances , these being around just over 90 km.
Importance of sheep in Spain as an exploitation system
The merino breed sheep has the advantage that it can be exploited in many different ecosystems since it has great adaptability to them. This is mainly due to the fact that this species originally comes from the North African plateaus of the Atlas Mountains, where they lived under extreme weather conditions, often adverse, of the kind found only in the mountains when all four seasons pass at the same time. Therefore, they had to withstand extreme temperature fluctuations from minus 20 degrees to plus 35 degrees. That is why they have a coat that is perfectly adapted to all conditions.
On the other hand, regarding the sociocultural role that sheep have had in Spain, it consisted of the basis of social and cultural relations, since the sheep belonged to the nobility and the church , for which they managed to unite the provinces of the whole country. by trading these sheep. This caused the sheep industry to increase in Spain and, with it, the economic and social benefits of the population , in addition to an increase in culture due to the social relations established both between the nobility of different provinces, and between the nobility and the shepherds, so that they would take care of their sheep.
This has only been a brief review of the history of sheep in Spain so that you can know what the beginning of the exploitation and production of Merino sheep in our country meant. We hope that it has been useful to you and that you have obtained the information you were looking for. If you need help or want to have any of our services or products, do not hesitate to contact us. From Raza Merino , we want to make it easy for you!