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Research Vital For Merino Wool

High-tech research at Merino New Zealand’s Product Advancement Centre in Christchurch has significantly lifted the value of wool bound for lucrative overseas markets.

Merino New Zealand research manager John Bates says the centre – now dealing with its second season of wool – incorporates leading edge technology that is benefiting growers and looking to maximise the value of fine wool exports.

The merino industry produces more than $100 million worth of raw wool each year.

Mr Bates says the development of new technology is directly in line with the significant gains made in meat, horticulture, dairy and forestry through high-tech central facilities that optimise product to meet market demands. The research has been made possible with assistance from the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology.

“Growers have already been able to take out the fine edge of their clip, with significant financial gain,” Mr Bates says. “However, this is just the start of customising to market requirements. Ongoing research is now being provided to ensure consistency in style and length, and introducing yield testing and identification of contaminants.”

At the end of processing, Merino New Zealand is able to provide growers with a total profile of their clip, which is an important management tool for making breeding decisions. Because the clip can be analysed fleece-by-fleece, a grower can see which sheep are providing the best results.

“We can supply growers with individual animal information, from which they can develop a culling model to suit their particular need,” Mr Bates says.

Significant research and planning led to the establishment of the advancement centre and already about 20 per cent of the New Zealand merino clip is being processed there.


-ends-

Contact: · John Bates, Merino New Zealand, Ph: (03) 343-6993. Email: john.bates@merinonz.com · Tony Hadfield, Technology New Zealand at the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, (04) 917-7800 or 025 454-095. Website: www.technz.co.nz

Prepared on behalf of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology by ID Communications. Contact: Ian Carson (04) 477-2525. Email: ian@idcomm.co.nz


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