Then the animals have to be returned – also to avoid inbreeding.

As part of the cross-breeding programme, Kashmir valley ewes were crossed with Australian Merino rams, and F1 (first generation hybrid) ewes were bred to Delaine rams of the USA. And then F2 (second generation) hybrids were bred among themselves after proper selection on the basis of wool quality and body weight. The matting among F2 generation continued till a breed with steady and uniform characters evolved which was named as Kashmir Merino.

In addition, in order to establish a vital link between the department and the farmers, 549 sheep extension centres were opened across the length and breadth of the region. Other technical programmes include castrations, lamb markings, docking, health cover, mechanical shearing and education of farmers about scientific farming practices. Sheep husbandry offices are run in each district of Kashmir to offer farmers advice. In 2018, 1,343 farmers joined the sheep development programme with the help of the Sheep Husbandry Department.