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A single closed package of wool carrying clear marks of identification. It may be a conventional woolpack, which is a dense bale (unwrapped or wrapped) of pressed wool secured by metal bands. It must be in condition fit for shipping according to the industry code of practice on packaging. It must weigh at least 100kg. Maximum weight is 200kg, with a 2% tolerance to 204kg.
Belly frib
The hard yellow portion of the belly, shorn off the brisket area of a sheep.
Belly or belly wool
Wool shorn from the belly of the sheep, usually heavy in condition and often containing vegetation. In the case of male sheep the portion around the pizzle is stained with urine. The abbreviation is BLS.
Black wool
Wool that is naturally pigmented a dark colour. Popular in the homecraft industry.
A line of wool made by thoroughly mixing wool types. May be done in a grower’s woolshed, a broker’s store, at a scour or at a mill.
Coloured mark used as identification, on a wool bale or on a sheep's back or side.
The volume of space occupied by wool fibres under a prescribed load – used to describe the wool’s filling capacity or resilience. Can be applied to loose wools, sliver or yarn, and is expressed as cm³/gm. It is an objective measurement.
Refers to the varieties of burr found in wool, such as clover burr and Bathhurst burr. Greater emphasis is given to the presence of some types of burr which present special problems during processing, as they cling to wool and therefore are difficult to remove.
Are employed by wool merchants and processors. They collect, assess and value wool sold by farmers. There is a wide range of jobs in this area, from country buying to working as a valuer for a wool exporting company.


Manufacturing process that uses bristle-covered or fine toothed rollers to separate individual fibres out from clumps, tangles and/staples. Arranges and aligns them ready for the next textile process.
Sort wool into particular classes, based on breed, age, colour, length and micron (diameter).
Classer Registration
Scheme operated by an industry committee that gives recognition to those who have attained high wool classing standards. Sections are store classer, shed classer and owner classer. Identified by a registered Kiwi stencil.
Coefficient of variation of diameter
The coefficient of variation of a range of wool fibres. All wool fibres vary in diameter as a result of changes in season, environment and animal health. CV helps describe this variation and so helps the processor determine processing performance.
An instrument used to measure the clean colour of wool. In this method of testing, a scoured sample of wool is placed in the colorimeter and light is shone on to it.
Measured on clean processed wool fibre by a colorimeter and is represented by the tristimulus values X, Y and Z. The Y value is an indicator of the wool brightness and the difference between Y and Z (Y-Z) represents the level of yellowness. If the Y value is high, the wool will be bright, but if it is low, the wool will appear dingy. If the value of Y-Z is low, the wool will be white, but if it is higher, the wool will be yellow.
Matted fleece with severe entanglement of shed and/or broken fibres.
An old system of describing the weight/length balance and, therefore, the fineness of yarn. Now replaced by Tex, which describes yarn in grams per kilometre.
Natural undulations of the fibres along the wool staple. More crimped wools tend to be finer.
A way of measuring the crimp of wool fibres, and measures how much fibre bends along a short length of wool. Values range from 50 to 150 degrees per millimetre. Lower figures are associated with increased processing efficiency and sleeker, softer fabrics with greater depth of yield shade after dyeing.


Excreta contaminated wool from around the sheep’s hind quarters. Dry dags can be machine crushed to recover wool.
Removing dags from sheep by machine or blade shearing to control pen staining or fly strike.
Drawing out of a sliver of fibre to make it thinner and longer. It is part of the spinning process.


Wool contained in a pack, with or without a cap, or bale weighing under 100 kgs.
The hard yellow portion of the belly, shorn off the brisket area of a sheep.


Process of aligning fibres approximately parallel in the sliver. Wool can be blended in gill box, and a thick sliver can be thinned so it can be handled on a spinning frame. Used in worsted and semi-worsted processing.
Greasy wool
Unwashed wool containing wool grease and other impurities.


The feel of wool to the touch, e.g. soft handle or harsh handle.
Hard heads and twigs
Presence of hard heads and twigs is stated as percentage of the total vegetable matter. It includes large head burrs covered in readily removed spines. Do not contribute to loss of wool during processing.



Natural sheen or shine from surface of fibres. More common is coarse woolled breeds such as Lincoln and English Leicester breeds. The smooth surface can cause problems with slippage during processing. Dies to more vibrant colours.


A micron is one millionth of a metre and is the standard measurement of textile fibre diameter. Typical New Zealand wools are strong, white and uniform, with low levels of black fibres, seeds, soil and other contaminants. Symbol used is 'µ'.
Medullated fibres are hair-like fibres that have a medulla or air-filled core of cells. They do not take dyes and show up white in the final product.
Vegetable matter other than seeds or burrs.


Short and broken fibres removed during combing. The combed wool that remains is know as ‘tops’.


Pen Stain
Green excreta contamination on wool caused by cross contact with daggy or scouring sheep. Causes shading problems in dyed product. Presence required to be designated ‘P/S’.
Pack the wool into bales ready for freighting; involves operating a mechanical press.


A very thin sliver of combed wool drawn down from wool tops, and ready for further drafting and spinning into worsted yarn.


Initial processing stage where greasy wool is teased open, washed, rinsed and dried.
Second cuts
Practice of shearing protruding fibre a second time. Produces low value, short fibre.
A yarn making system that uses some of the worsted system’s features to make a strong smooth yarn for tufted carpet and outer knitwear. It uses good style wools, normally 33 microns and stronger and from 75 millimetres staple length to 175 millimetres maximum. It is not combed to remove short fibres or vegetable matter, so the wool needs to be sound and free of vegetable matter.
Cut the wool from sheep with a handpiece, or in some cases with blade shears. They generally work in teams, or gangs, led by a shearing contractor.
Removal by hand of shorter, discoloured edge and collar of neck wool from the perimeter of a fleece spread out on a skirting table.
Skirting table
Large, rectangular, slated table on which fleeces are thrown so they are spread out for skirting. Slats allow locks and second cuts to fall through.
Slipe wool
Wool removed from the skins of slaughtered animals, by a process other than shearing.
Band or ribbon of twisted fibres produced by card and used in worsted or semi-worsted yarn.
The output of a woollen card in the form of very thin slivers ready to be spun into yarn.
Wool with high tensile strength.
Tensile strength of a staple of wool. A laboratory test breaks a staple and measures breaking force in Newtons per kilotex and position of break along the staple.
Document supplied by a wool broker and completed by a wool grower which accompanies each wool consignment. Sets out line descriptions, bale numbers etc.
Secretion of the sweat glands of a sheep. Largely sodium and potassium carbonates and chlorides. Highest quatities in strong woolled sheep.


Weakness caused by a reduction in fibre diameter at some point along the staple. Result of the seasonal growth pattern of wool or of stress suffered by the sheep, such as extreme climatic conditions, pregnancy or disease.
Terminal (crossing) sire
Definition required
Yarn count measurement of weight in grams per kilometre of yarn.
Continuous, untwisted ribbon of wool produced from combing machine where all fibres are laid parallel and short or weak fibres and vegetable matter have been combed out.


Urine Stain
Urine stained wool from the crutch area of ewes and the pizzle area of male sheep; found in ram and wether bellies and ewe crutchings. It is unscourable and must be kept separate.


Vegetable matter (VM)
Seed, burr, shive and moit content of wool expressed as a percentage of the original greasy wool sample.


Yarns that run lengthways in woven cloth.
Lanolin secreted from sebaceous gland of sheep.
Yarns that run across a woven cloth.
Wool handlers
Pick up and sort the wool into different grades. Also known as shed hands.
Textile manufacturing process that uses generally shorter wool that are carded, condensed as slubbings, the spun into yarn. The random lay of the fibres produces bulky products, e.g. blankets, tweeds and heavier woven and knitted apparel.
Textile manufacturing process using good style, long sound wools. After carding, wool is gilled to align fibres, then combed to remove short fibre and residual vegetable matter, gilled again to form a top, drawn out to form a roving, then finally spun and twisted. Yarn is made into high quality, smooth surfaced fabrics, e.g. worsted suitings.


The amount of clean fibre, at a standard regain, that can be obtained from the greasy wool. There are four core test yields that are normally calculated from the wool base for commercial trading purposes.

  1. International Wool Textile Organisation (IWTO) Schlumberger Dry Top and Noil Yield (SCH DRY).
    The most common yield. It estimates the amount of top and noil that can be combed from the greasy wool. Allowances are made for moisture regain, residual fatty matter and dirt, and a processing allowance (i.e. an allowance for fibre loss) which is dependent upon the amount of VM (less hardheads) in the lot. Used by the New Zealand Wool Board to determine the minimum floor or intervention price.
    The IWTO Schlumberger dry combed tested yield predicts the yield of a wool after it has been combed on a Schlumberger comb without the addition of processing oil. It is based on the production of 8 parts combed sliver (top) to 1 part short fibre (noil) with an allowance for fibre loss.

  2. IWTO Scoured Yield 17% Regain (CD 17%).
    This is the washing yield. It represents the product after scouring, before any further processing takes place (i.e. includes VM plus wool). Allowances (2.27%) are made for residual grease and residual dirt. A regain of 17% is used.

  3. Japanese Clean Scoured Yield (JCSY)
    This is a washing yield which is similar to the above except for the regain allowance (1.5%) made for the scouring residuals. Also this yield has the vegetable matter deducted but no allowance is made for fibre loss during processing. This yield is the basis for trade with Japan.

  4. Australian Carbonising Yield 17% Regain (ACY)
    This yield is calculated from wool base and vegetable matter base and allows for the expected loss of fibre during the carbonising process. It is widely used as the basis of trade in carbonising and carding types.
Combined secretions of sweat and sebaceous glands that coats wool fibre. Desired yolk or grease is clear. Undesirable yellow types are referred to as cakey, suety and fatty yolk.

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