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27 September 1999

Perendale Annual
1999 edition

Bulk vital to carpet manufacturers

Bulkier crossbred wools scored useful price premiums at auction in the 1998/99 season.

Medium bulk wools (25-28 cm³/gm) enjoyed a 4c/kg premium over typical low-bulk crossbreds, and high bulk wools (>28 cm³/gm) enjoyed a premium of 8c/kg, according to WoolPro market analysis.

These figures are for all 30.5 to 38.4 micron wools during the entire season and therefore hide periods when premiums were lower or higher than the average.

For instance, premiums are probably highest in autumn when the market is dominated by lustrous low bulk wools, and at their lowest in early summer when naturally bulky hogget wools are readily available, says WoolPro’s North Island supervising valuer Graham Roddick.

“Perendale wools have a reputation for higher bulk than other crossbreds, to the extent that our bulkier wools are generally known as ‘Perendale’ in overseas markets.

“In reality, not all New Zealand wools sold as ‘Perendale’ come from the breed, and not all wool from the breed is bulky, but it’s a valuable reputation to have.”

Bulk is very important in carpet-making. High bulk wools spin more efficiently and produce carpets which keep their appearance much better than low bulk wools.

Medium to high bulk wools are therefore needed by New Zealand mills and by exporters providing machine-ready blends to overseas carpet mills.

WoolPro believes that because most New Zealand crossbred wool is destined for use in carpets, farmers need to include bulk in the equation when selecting breeding animals.

The problem is that bulk is only one of several important genetic characteristics they need to select for. Selection for fleece weight is normally a higher priority.

WoolPro believes the answer for most growers lies in selecting against sheep with low-bulk high lustre fleeces. If most crossbred producers did this, there would be useful long-term benefits for the marketability of New Zealand wool.

“New Zealand supplies traditional markets in Europe and Asia with wools which meet mill requirements in all respects except bulk,” says Mr Roddick.

“If our crossbred wools were bulkier, New Zealand would be increasingly recognised as a one-stop-shop for quality carpet wool blends.”

If typical Perendale growers, regardless of their other breeding priorities, remove the least bulky 10 per cent from their flock and replacements, they’ll make useful progress, says WoolPro extension specialist Richard Gavigan.

“For those breeders who already have medium bulk wool and see this as a marketing opportunity, there is the potential to actively select for high bulk.

“Perendale rams with high bulk scores are available and because the genes for bulk are highly heritable, these rams will have a big effect in just a couple of [sheep] generations.”

Breeders who are going down the high bulk track are encouraged before selecting rams or elite flock replacements to get samples appraised by a WoolPro valuer, or to have side sample measurements taken by one of the test houses.

The current core bulk test is not appropriate for individual animals and research is being carried out to relate yarn bulk to fibre diameter and curvature.


For more information, please contact:

Graham Roddick, Tel 06 835 1888
Richard Gavigan, Tel 06 378 8106


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