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We provide advice on specific issues, which range from the adoption of best practice farming systems, to connecting to the internet from rural areas.

Fine Wool Clip Preparation – Quality Control

Meeting the needs of fine wool processors
Wool preparation involves preparing a wool clip for sale and subsequent manufacture. Ideally, it should satisfy the needs of both, but unfortunately, the effort often falls short. You should aim all of your wool preparation at increasing the overall net value.

A practical guide to woolclassing
Classing can be defined as "grouping fleeces into sale lines in the woolshed, taking into account factors such as fineness, length, colour and style." Good preparation is the key to consistency. The objective is to present the whole clip in a way that will gain the maximum return for the farmer, by minimising the variation within lines of wool made in the woolshed.

Variability of fibre characteristics within a Merino wool clip
To add value and improve the fibre characteristics of our Merino wool clip, it is important we understand the biological complexities of how the fibre grows. Only then can we make informed management and breeding decisions.

Wool Markers

Modern farming methods mean farmers need to be able to readily identify sheep for management purposes.

Fleece marking dyes are an increasingly popular way of doing this. Marks indicating drenching, tupping, or pregnancy status are common.

Marker dyes, however, can be costly contaminants of wool. Their presence damages the reputation of New Zealand wool with overseas mills and may result in lost sales that ultimately hurt the grower.

Marker contamination of wool can be costly in both money and tarnished reputations, as the experience of one large spinner shows.

Summit Wool Spinners purchased two 15 tonne deliveries from a New Zealand based exporter for use in a white, undyed yarn.

The yarn was to be felted and tufted into a plain white shade carpet aimed at the high value end of the US market.

Half of the yarn had already been dispatched to the US carpet manufacturer when blue marker contamination was discovered during the yarn felting stage. The remaining yarn was then manually checked, the contamination removed and the yarn re-spliced.

The manufacturer was advised of the problem and the repaired yarn air freighted to the US to meet delivery requirements.

The spinner incurred heavy costs in "cleaning up" the yarn and replacing the spoilt material. The manufacturer has also lodged a $90,000 claim for damages.

A can of sheep marker costs around $5.

Contamination can arise from:

  • Farm management practices
  • In-shed practices
  • The use of non-approved products
  • Incorrect application methods

If New Zealand wool is to retain its reputation for quality, marked wool must not leave the farm and find its way into the scouring process.

This technical brief looks at farm practices involving marking, and suggests ways in which farmers can minimise contamination.

Click here to access further information on the following:

Hogget Mating and Lambing

Lifetime ewe productivity is a major factor governing the profitability of sheep production. Increasing ovulation rate, lamb survival and subsequent weaning rate can increase reproductive efficiency in adult ewes. Mating and lambing ewe hoggets may provide another means of increasing lifetime productivity.

Getting on top of lice

Options for mid-micron and fine wool growers. The most effective way to control lice is still by chemical treatment off-shears. But the treatment is only as effective as the chemicals you use and how you apply them.

Internet access in rural areas - Making the most of inadequate phone lines

Telecom’s had a lot of bad press about its rural telephone services. It’s not surprising, when 54 per cent of rural users surveyed by MAF say they have telephone line problems. For those living more than 30 km from town, the figure grows to 82 per cent.

Keeping thistles out of the clip

Good pasture management is the key to controlling thistles and keeping them out of wool.

Wool testing and appraisal can make you money

Making sense of the figures on wool test certificates.

Farmers who have had their wool tested and appraised have a sound basis for establishing their selling price. They are in a position to be strong sellers.


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