Wool Production Basics
Fiber diameter varies by breeds of sheep and is used to determine the purpose of the wool. Wool made up of smaller diameter fibers or fine wool is used for clothing while wool made up of larger diameter fibers or coarse wool is used for carpets and rugs. Below are more details about wool production and wool quality.
As wool comes off the sheep it is called grease wool. This is because the lanolin in the wool gives it a greasy feel and appearance.
Fiber diameter is probably the most important factor for determining the quality of wool and its value. As the fiber diameter increases, it changes the way wool is used.
Crimp is another wool characteristic highly related to fiber diameter.
Vegetable matter in wool comes from feed particles as well as burs, seeds, twigs, leaves, and grasses.
The staple or fiber length affects how the wool can be used.
The whiteness of wool is very important if the fibers are not expected to be dyed or will be dyed a light color.
Occasionally, the wool fibers may become matted or felted together.
Wool quality can be affected by genetic and environmental influences. Genetic influences would be to select sheep with higher quality wool, while environmental influences might include nutrition, sheep management, and shearing management.
Wool production is often overlooked in many operations. For the average person marketing their wool through a wool pool, special considerations for wool production are typically not taken into consideration.