Wool is a perfect insulator worn in many areas of the world to keep warm, yet the Bedouins of the Sahara wear wool because it keeps them cool.
1. Staple Length The ideal staple length is between 2.75 and 3.25 inches. Wool with
staple length less than 2.5 inches will not be accepted, nor will staple length longer
than 4.5 inches.
2. Color White and bright wool are highly desirable, therefore, fleece with stains and/or fleece rot will not be accepted unless the fleece is skirted and stains are removed. Wool with canary yellow color will be accepted, however, the price paid may be discounted. At shearing, blackface sheep should be separated and shorn last. Wool from blackface sheep should never be mixed with whiteface wool.
3. Skirting is required for removal of obvious black fibers and vegetative matter along with the removal of all tags, skin pieces, crutchings, topknots, leg wool (shanks), cheeks and paint brands. Fleece must be carefully and minimally skirted to ensure that only inferior wool is removed and all good fleece wool remains with the fleece. It is the responsibility of the producer and the shearer to assure that the minimum number of second cuts are made by shearers. Clip with a high number of second cuts will be discounted or rejected.
Fleece that is clotted must be removed from the clip at shearing. Clip with excessive kemp will not be accepted.
4. Paint Brand It is preferable that methods other than paint branding be used for animal identification; however, if paint brands are used, the brand must be placed on a spot on the animal that allows maximum wool to remain after the brand’s removal. Wool branded with non-scourable branding fluid will not be accepted. If brands cannot be eliminated, blue is the best color to use when branding; red is an undesirable color.
5. Fiber Strength Broken or tender wool will not be accepted because the fiber is less resilient and will be subject to breakage, affecting the resulting length of the fiber. Fleece should be tested for breaks and tenderness and those found to be broken or tender are removed from the clip. Wool that can withstand 7 pounds of pressure are
considered to be sound.6. Yield Fleece will be accepted or rejected after scouring and payment will be calculated based on scoured yield. The acceptable minimum yield is 58%; lower yields may be rejected or heavily discounted.
6. Yield Fleece will be accepted or rejected after scouring and payment will be calculated based on scoured yield. The acceptable minimum yield is 58%; lower yields may be rejected or heavily discounted.Suggested management practices that can affect yield:
a. Shear before seed heads mature to reduce vegetable matter.
b. Tag before shearing to decrease the amount of stained wool.
c. Maintain a clean shearing floor (increases yield by 3%-5%).
d. Skirt fleeces (required by The Natural Bedroom)
7. Vegetable Matter: Due to the nature of its business, it is especially important to The Natural Bedroom to have wool that is free from noticeable prickly vegetable matter. Wool that requires carbonizing to remove excess vegetable matter will not be accepted, as the carbonizing process results in decreased fiber strength and harsher feeling wool.
The amount of vegetable matter can be decreased by management practices:
a. Avoid throwing hay on the back of sheep and pouring grain on their heads and neck during feeding.
b. Shear before seed heads mature.
c. Restrict sheep from grazing areas that contain plants known to cause contamination, especially when their fleece are long.
d. Clear corrals of vegetation before using.
e. Avoid bedding sheep on hay or straw prior to shearing.
f. Skirt fleece (required by The Natural Bedroom).
8. Polypropylene The Natural Bedroom will not purchase any wool that has been contaminated with polypropylene. If hay is fed that is tied with poly twine, the
producer should take all steps necessary to assure that the poly twine does not
contaminate the wool clip. If the hay is bought, wire bales should be purchased when
9. Residues Fleece with residue of pesticides, herbicides, topical medications, or other
chemical contaminants will not be accepted.