Raising sheep for wool was the major income source for sheep breeding in the early 1900s. But as the value of wool as a commodity started to decline, farmers and breeders adapted, raising sheep for wool specifically for area of interest marketing. Fleeces sold to specialty markets or hand spinners will fetch more rather than being sold commercially. A pound of fleece can bring as much as $15 in comparison to just 75 cents in the local market. Cooperatives also help in adding value to a producer’s wool. Small quantities of wool can likewise be made into custom yarn, blanket, or cloth.
Hand spinners desire high quality wool the most. A producer who wants to produce high quality type takes additional care in feeding, housing, grooming, and raising the sheep. Farmers often skirt fleeces in fleecing wool. Skirting is the procedure of removing undesirable parts of the fleece. Parts taking away include this type: belly, coarse, cotted, stained, tags, and short.
In raising sheep for wool, most farmers frequently use covers to keep the fleece from getting dirty. This also safeguards the fleece from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, which causes fading and damage. Wool also grows more under covers and more often than not softer than wool that grew without covers. The covers need to be changed periodically to keep the sheep well airy and clean. An entire industry of producing sheep covers has sprung up owing to this. Regular sheep covers are produced from nylon.
Aside from raising sheep for wool that produces excellent fleece, a producer will also need to be proficient at shearing. Shearing is the procedure of isolating the woolen fleece of a sheep. A fleece’s quality is resolute by wool classing; a process wherein wool of similar grade and quality are categorized and sold together to increase it’s worth. It will also need to be cleaned, called scouring, removing grease and dirt from the fleece. It may be immersed in warm water, or may be cleaned with detergents and alkali.
A wool’s quality is very essential in raising sheep for wool. Aspects that have a bearing on a it’s quality include: color, crimp, fiber diameter, staple strength and yield. Of these aspects, fiber diameter is the most significant. The finer it is, the better its price will be. Merino type ( more often than not given to be one of the best wool on the market) grows about 3-5 ins in length and is extra fine (12-24 microns). Generally, the smaller it is in microns, the better it is. Those types that are finer than 25 microns are employed for clothing while coarser wools are made into rugs and outerwear.