Hot topics in the Wool Industry by Camden Haven High School
TOPICS Wool welfare-improved surgery What is Flystrike Flystrike prevention clips Mulesing Progress so far Mulesing and welfare How it affects us End mulesing bibliography Managing flystrike AWI
WOOLWool plays an major part in our lives it is a natural fibre which is grown fromsheep it is environmentally friendly and plays a big part in the Australianeconomy, Australia is one of the leading wool producers in the world.Innovations and new ways to increase wool production is essential for thewool industry in Australia to continue producing wool.Examples of wool use: Clothing Piano hammers Carpet felt Insulation Fire fighters Blankets uniforms Horse rugs Lining for stereo
WHAT IS FLYSTRIKEDuring the early 1900’s the Lucilia cuprina blowflywas accidentally introduced to Australia, Flystrikehas been a serious health and welfare risk forAustralian sheep since.The L. cuprina blowfly lays its eggs in the rearend of sheep, once they have hatch into maggotsstill hidden beneath the wool, they eat the sheepalive. It is difficult to detect early, it causes severesuffering to the animal, and can be rapidly fatal.
MULESINGduring the 1930s, farmers were faced with flystrike rates of between60 to 120 per cent. In order to control the problem a procedurecalled mulesing was introduced. This method was successful.Mulesing is when loose skin of the sheep is removed from thebreach or tail area. Mulesing is conducted when the animal is alamb, this way they recover quickly. The wound contracts to form asmooth scar, this make it harder for blowfly eggs to hatch. Mulesingdecreased the flystrike rates from 60 to 120 per cent to1 to 3 percent.
MULESING AND WELFAREAlthough mulesing was affective in did create a concern for thewelfare of the lambs.Many groups of people complained and petitioned against mulesingdue to it is cruel. The Australian wool industry in response to welfareconcerns for lambs subjected to mulesing, has introduced laws andprograms to improve the welfare of the animals.
END MULESINGThe wool industry has aimed to stop all mulesing practices by 2012and strong progress to deal with animal welfare matters have beenmade.Australian Wool Innovation has created a thorough and committedR&D program. This program is designed to get rid of the need formulesing over time, and also to guarantee humane care of sheep inthe short term.
MANAGING FLYSTRIKE AWI AUSTRALIAN WOOL INDUSTRYThe AWI has approached The longer-term aim is toflystrike in sustainable and stop the need for mulesing tohuman ways, it has a flystrikeprevention welfare R&D prevent flystrike:program. advances in non-invasiveThe short term aim is toprovide methods to replace the management practices suchpractice of traditional as crutching, jetting, flymulesing: trapping and nutrition genetic research and welfare-improved surgical procedure with pain relief enhanced breeding for flystrike resistance. non surgical methods of removing breech wrinkle, such as flystrike prevention clips and intradermal technology.
WELFARE-IMPROVED SURGERYwound pain relief and antiseptic agents are now available to relievepain and protect against wound infection and they contains a strongagent to stop bleeding. The procedure takes a few seconds when done properly. Within 30 seconds the effect of eliminating pain and providing wound anaesthesia is seen and it lasts for more than eight hours. Lambs show little if any signs of distress in the hours after the procedure. It significantly reduces the cortisol stress response.This method is being used every where and it is increasing right aroundthe country. Further Research is continuing to improve the pain reliefoptions.
FLYSTRIKE PREVENTION CLIPSprevention clips are the most developed of the non surgicalalternatives. The flystrike prevention clips are put onto the loose folds of skin in the breech and on the tail. The Clips merge the skin edges together. During this process there is no open wound. After one week roughly, a smooth scar is revealed when the clips are removed. The clips are successful to reduce flystrike in the breech and tail area, but Clips are still not as affective at reducing flystrike as mulesing is. It is predicted that clips will be used by farmers as well as other management methods, this will reduce the frequency of flystrike in flocks.
PROGRESS SO FARThe AWI are continuing to research other methods tocombat flystrike in sheep. Many of their options to fightflystrike have been adopted instead of the traditionalmulesing method and long term breeding programs havebeen started.The AWI making progress with better training, pain reliefproducts, clips and improved fly control chemicals.
HOW IT AFFECTS USWool is so important in our country even if we don’t rely on it asmuch as we used to. Innovations in the wool industry is vital to keepAustralia competitive and high quality.The Australian wool industry is faced with a huge problem Flystrikebut over the years we have developed many methods of tackling thisissue and while we haven got it 100% right we are still working tofind better human alternatives.
THE AUSTRALIAN WOOLINDUSTRY About the Wool Industry in Australia Benefits of The Merino Wool Back to Contents
ABOUT THE WOOL INDUSTRYAustralia is the world’s leading producer of wool,producing around 24% of global wool. Australia is alsothe world’s leading wool exporter, accounting for two-thirds of the world’s wool exports.Roughly 70 million sheep in Australia, produce about 345million kilograms of wool, grown by approximately55,000 woolgrowers spread across Australia who paylevies and are committed to producing the finest andhighest quality wool.Wool in Australia is produced in a variety of climates andenvironmental conditions, ranging from the highlands ofTasmania and New South Wales to the pastoral zones ofWestern Australia, South Australia and Queensland.
76% of the Australian sheep flock is Merino , with the remainder a variety ofcrossbreds and other breeds. The Merino produces a finer wool than most other breeds,with wool fibres ranging from 15-24 microns. The vast majority of Australian wool isclassified as fine apparel, which is suited to the manufacture of high-quality fashionapparel. Australia supplies 90% of the wool used in this market globally.Australian woolgrowers notonly work tirelessly toproduce the best qualitywool but also genuinelycare for the environmentand are committed to doingwhat is best for theiranimals and their land. Click to go back to the Australian Wool Industry
BENEFITS OF THE MERINO WOOLThe Australian Merino wool’s distinct properties makeit increasingly in demand as a global preference forenvironmentally assured products: NaturalThe Merino wool is a completely natural fibre, theAustralian Merino has evolved over time to create themost effective protection against all weather elementsknown to man.The Merino produces its fine wool in extensivegrassland terrain and lives an almost completely carefree existence. It is a naturally breathable fibre makingit a very efficient temperature regulator.
BiodegradableAustralian Merino fibre is made from protein, similarto that found in human hair. Unlike most man-madefibres, wool when disposed of, naturally decomposesback into the earth in a matter of years. However, mostsynthetics fibres are extremely slow to degrade and havesimilar properties to plastic shopping bags. RenewableA new fleece is produced every year by the Merino sheep, therefore the merino fibreis a completely renewable material.Merino wool is not only high quality and in good supply but is an environmentallyfriendly fibre that is durable and renewable making it an extremely efficient material. Back to Contents
THE PROCESS Technologies Manufacturing Marketing Back to Contents
TECHNOLOGIESMeasurement and specification of raw woolcharacteristics is an important component ofmodern manufacturing processes. It is essential tomaintain product quality.Wool metrology has provided technologies andsystems that objectively measure most of thevalue or raw materials, determining thecharacteristics of the wool. This in turn allowswool processors to more accurately identify thecharacteristics of the wool, which ensures thatwhen this wool is processed the product will havethe values required by the spinner.
Three new technologies have been developed that will change theknitwear of wool, and how wool is manufactured.The wool Handle meter predicts individual components of fabric handle sothat fabrics can be engineered and have the balance between softness,smoothness and warm/cool feel.The second technology, the Wool Comfort Meter, measures next to skincomfort of fabric and garments, making sure garments are “fit forpurpose” and specific next to skin comfort levels are achieved.Thirdly a technology that enables the manufacture of the brightest whitesand brightest pastel colours in wool fabric. Click to go back to the Process
MANUFACTURINGThe conversion of greasy wool to wool top is typically done via thefollowing mechanical processes:1.Scouring - The washing of raw wool to remove impurities i.e. dirt,grease and sweat salts (suint).2.Carding – Removing vegetable matter by opening fibres into a thinweb.3.Gilling – Aligning the wool fibres through a three stage process.4.Combing – The wool is combed to remove any short fibres,entanglements and any residual vegetable matter.5.Finisher Gilling - Two final gilling steps to produce uniform sliverknown as wool top.
After the wool has been converted to wool top thefollowing processes are carried out to productconsumer quality products: Spinning - The wool fibres are wound together to form yarn. Dyeing/Finishing - The wool is dyed, can be done at any of the processing stages depending on processors requirements. Knitting - Yarn is knitted together to produce garments or fabric or Weaving - Weaving is the process of fabric formation in which warp and weft yarns are interlaced using a weaving machine. Making-Up - Individual components of a garment are assembled and sewn together to produce consumer satisfaction. Click to go back to the Process
MARKETINGWool has a significant income portion in sheepoperations. Wool was the first commodity to be tradedinternationally, and is still important in all agriculturaleconomies today. There are certain characteristics thatdetermine the value of wool including fibre diameter,crimp, yield, colour, purity, and staple length andstrength.The marketing of wool can be put down to two methods:- Commodity Marketing- Direct MarketingRegardless of the type of wool required all marketersdesire clean wool that is free from vegetable matter andother contaminants.
Commodity Marketing:Wool PoolsMost Australian wool farmers don’t have enough wool to directly market it towarehouses or mills, so they use “wool pools”. Groups of producers combine their wool formarketing, this is called a wool pool, which allows the wool to be classed and sold dueto type and quality more efficiently.Wool WarehousesPrivate or co-operative wool warehouses act as brokers for wool. The wool is sold atsealed bids through regularly scheduled sales. Other associations offer anumber of marketing options such as cash, grade and yield, consignment, consignment premiums, and cleanprice core test grade and yield.Fibre Co-opsFibre co-ops are formed to try and increase the value ofthe producers’ wool. Someco-ops form alliances with large international partners where as others are basedmore locally.
Direct marketing of Wool:Direct marketing of wool is where the product is marketed directly to theconsumer. The most common method of this is marketing whole fleecesdirectly to hand spinners, weavers, and other wool craftsmen. There are lots of different ways to add value towool and one of these ways is wool roving. Wool rovingis the technique used to hold the fibres together wool that has been washed and combed into a clump is then twisted to hold the fibres together. Rovingscan be used for spinning, felting, stuffing, padding and various craft projects. The wool can also be processed one step further and spun into a yarn.Various finished products of wool can bemarketed directly to consumers or otheroutlets such as garments, outerwear, rugsbedding etc. For producers with low qualitywool, making wool into blankets provides away to add value and direct market product.
- Classing Wool for MarketingClassing wool is where the wool is graded into groups of similar types of wool. Itcan be done either on the farm, at wool pools or at warehouses.This table shows some suggested categories for sorting and packaging wool: Back to Contents
AUSTRALIAN PRODUCERS Practices Environmental Stewardship Back to Contents
PRACTICESWool Production is a year round process that starts long beforeshearing. Farmers wish to produce top quality wool, and simplepractices such as; Using feeders, which keep hay and chaff off the sheep’s back. Hay isn’t carried or thrown over sheep. Grain isn’t poured over heads. Sawdust / shavings aren’t used as bedding. Burr producing plants are removed from pastures where sheep graze. Approved soluble products should be used for paint branding and marketing. Poly tarps, poly feed bags & poly twine are avoided because poly contamination is the number one problem with wool. These practises ensure that fleeces are left uncontaminated, and animals with high quality wool can protected with coats.
ShearingSheep are sheared as early as spring, and should be crutchedor sheared prior to lambing. Shearing is done on a clean drysurface, such as plywood, old rugs or canvas, or concrete floors.The fleece wool is packaged separately to the belly wool, topknot and other tags of wool. Skirting Once the sheep has been sheared completely, the fleece is thrown clean side down on to a wool table. High quality fleeces need to be skirted, which is where the undesirable parts of the fleece are removed. These parts include tags, stained wool, sweat locks, second cuttings and any other untidy material.PackagingOnce the wool is skirted, it needs to be packaged so it can besent off for marketing. Wool is packaged in regulation woolbags, not in plastic grain bags. If it is packaged in plastic trashbags, the tags need to be left open to allow moisture to escape.Only paper twine should be used to tie fleeces. Back to Australian Producers
ENVIRONMENTALSTEWARDSHIPAcross Australia, there are 34 000 Australia farmers dedicated to producing the highestquality wool. Australian wool growers actively work with nature, and continue toimprove the efficiency and care for the natural resources. They ensure that theAustralian wool industry is kept sustainable, ensuring a wool industry for futuregenerations.Australian farmers are continually trying to keep their paddocksand pastures free from contamination, and one of the ways theydo this is by disposing of dead animal bodies appropriately.Methods include; incineration, disposing in sanitary landfills,on-site burials, rendering or composting the animals. Another aspect that needs to be considered and managed on farms is manure. A manure management system includes collection, storage and ultimate disposal or utilization (used as fertilizers etc.) this helps keep land clean, and left sustainable. Back to Contents
BIBLIOGRAPHY Australian Wool Innovation.(2012).The Wool Mark Company. http://www.wool.com/index.html (accessed 25/9/12) The Wool Mark Company.(2012). Wool Mark. http://www.woolmark.com/ (accessed 3/10/12) The Wool Mark Company.(2012). Merino. http://www.merino.com/ (accessed 4/10/12) Sheep 201.(2012). Wool Marketing. http://www.sheep101.info/201/woolmarketing.html (accessed 16/10/12) Back to Contents or Click anywhere to end show.