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‘Micron madness’ makes messy wool lots

6 July 2001


Farming Media and Daily Farm Pages


‘Micron madness’ makes messy wool lots

[360 words]

‘Micron madness’ on some farms is stopping fine wool being prepared properly and is costing farmers money, says the industry’s wool quality watchdog.

The Classer Registration Advisory Industry Group (CRAIG) says a drive toward classing fine wools into lots based almost solely on fibre diameter is creating bales which are highly variable in style, length and strength.

CRAIG includes representatives from WoolPro, Merino New Zealand, the shearing contractors association, wool brokers, exporters and merchants. Its views also have the support of wider industry players, including the test houses.

CRAIG registrar Struan Hulme says the group is concerned about some lots that have been classed into categories as narrow as 0.1 microns, with little regard for other factors.

“Once you get finer than 18 microns, growers should be aware that the specialised industries that use their wool are also looking for wool that’s of good, even quality in terms of style, length and strength,” Mr Hulme says.

“We want to get the message across that micron is not the be-all and end-all. Those other factors should be given equal weighting in these extra-, super- and ultra-fine lines.

“Smaller lots also cost the grower more, for the time and money involved in preparation – on average an extra 25 cents a kilogram clean – and they can be heavily discounted at auction. Lots that number fewer than three bales can be discounted by a further 35 c/kg.”

In many cases, the ‘micron madness’ is leading to light, low density bales turning up in wool stores.

With some bales weighing just 100 kg greasy (70 kg clean) or less, exporters find them difficult to sell.

More …

Lotsize … 2

Light bales cause further problems, as handling and coring systems require ‘back pressure’ to work effectively. If bales aren’t dense enough, corers don’t punch a clean hole and nylon pack fibres can end up in the bale.

“Having 30 micron pack fibres turning up in a bale of 13 micron wool isn’t helping anyone.”

CRAIG suggests growers should initially class wool into a minimum of half-micron brackets, but can amalgamate these to produce sensible sale lots once they know how much wool they have.


For more information, please contact Classer Registration Advisory Industry Group registrar Struan Hulme at WoolPro, tel 03 343 7914.

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