Last update: April 2, 2012 01:56:56 PM E-mail Print


Ensure future demand for the fibre - Wool must meet requirements of the manufacturer

JJ Venter 


Wool is considered one of the most popular textile fibres because of its excellent properties for the manufacturing of clothing materials and fabrics, as well as in blending with other textile fibres. Intensive research is being done to improve its end commodities viz crease-resistance and shrink resistance. Much is also being done to improve its processing behaviour.

IF Merino wool wishes to maintain the demand and its use as textile fibre, everything must be done to meet the requirements of the manufacturer. Problems encountered by the manufacturer during processing must, as far as possible be eliminated by the producer. The buyer and manufacturer must be certain that the wool offered for sale will meet their requirements.

Poor classing hampers the evaluation of the wool in the bale. Uniformity in respect of length, fibre diameter also in quality and yield, will inspire confidence in what is offered for sale. If the buyer is not sure what is offered for sale, he will not run the risk of paying too much.

Campbell (1963) postulated that buyers do not like to see more than two qualities at the most in a lot. Wools which are mixed in quality are difficult to value and they are only sought after by buyers whose customers are prepared to incur the expense of sorting them carefully. According to Michell (1970) up to 12 different lots have to be made out of one bale before blending and processing. This will lead to an increase in manufacturing costs and be taken into consideration when valuating the wool.



Whan (1968) stated that the introduction of core testing results as a basis for the sale contract between seller and buyer of wool would increase the accuracy of the price estimate and eliminate much of the uncertainty in the present contracts. This would reduce the frequency and magnitude of claims made against buyers for misdescription and also improve the conversion of greasy wool in the end product. Pre-sale testing would provide a more equitable basis for determining the income of woolgrowers.

According to the Bradfort Wool Report [(Farmer's Weekly 10th July 1974) the blunt fact has to be faced that, using man-made fibres is easier, cheaper-prone to more official and unofficial help and more profitable than using wool, and that whenever processors or retailers have to make a choice or think they have to, they chose man-made fibres.

The late Mr Clark, managing director of the IWS, saw the future of wool as a speciality fibre which will demand a high price. It does not mean that improving wool may be considered of no importance.

Mr Asimus, (1977) chairman of the Australian Wool Corporation when addressing the German Conference at Konstanz, West Germany, stated that wool growers were aware that in the long run the only way they could ensure that profits were made from wool production, was to ensure that users made a profit from using the fibre.



With regard to the future prospects for wool, the Wool and Worsted Survey (1979) stated that despite the decline in the demand for wool products, it seemed likely that sales would remain at a substantial level as the comfort, softness and lustre of pure wool were impossible to replace completely.

Sales of luxury wool items and mixture blends with man-made fibres seemed destined to be the largest markets.

Dr Pagliuzzi (1975) director Eurotricot Knitwear Fair in Italy, stated that wool was seen as the key to knitwear revival - if the price was right.

He further stated: "We must relaunch our knitwear industry trading on the quality and fashion that always has been our trademark.

This means that we must be more ambitious in using wool. We have to produce better merchandise and stress quality, durability and performance. This will lead to wool becoming more and more important from the Italian point of view.

Wool's durability and performance were needed as much as its aesthetics. In addition there was the warmth factor. People would again see the need for real warmth and comfort in clothes. While wool is reasonable in price our members will use it in quantity".

From the above it is clear that wool is recognised for its excellent properties. If Merino wool wishes to regain and maintain the use and demand as a textile fibre, everything possible must be done to ensure that it meets the requirements of the manufacturer.

Problems encountered by the manufacturer in processing must be eliminated by the producer. The ideal should be to produce a sound wool which has a good tensile strength over its entire length being less weathered and Duerdentrue in respect of its diameter to crimp-ratio.



To ensure the production of good quality wool the producer has to keep the following recommendations in mind:

Favourable feeding must be maintained at all times.

Correct management must be practised.

Shearing must be planned to have short wool on the sheep over the hot summer months to prevent deeper weathering.

Sufficient shade must be supplied to the sheep in camps.

Selection and breeding must be concentrated on those animals which produce wool of the best quality and also maintain a high productivity and reproductivity.



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