(Previously published online: American Wool: May 12, 2021)
If you’re looking to reap the full benefits of your garden, then you’re tending to your plot, planting your crop, or planning for next year’s bloom, gardening is truly a year-round activity. Whether you have a garden in a window planter, a small terrace, raised beds, or even in a large portion of your yard — you can benefit from using wool to help your plants thrive.
The pandemic has driven many cultural and behavioral shifts; primarily, that families are spending more time at their homes and have started new hobbies or picked up old ones. USA today found that gardening as a hobby is booming! So, we talked with Albert Wilde, owner of Wild Valley Farms, and 6th generation sheep rancher in Croydon, Utah about how wool comes into play in the flourishing field of gardening.
“Typically, when you shear a sheep you have what’s called ‘waste wool’” Wilde starts off, “this is wool that’s from the belly or hindside of the sheep and it’s often discolored, thin, and generally not considered valuable.” With waste wool making up to 20% of
As summer comes to a close, the fall is full of management tasks in all areas of livestock production that need to be accomplished prior to the new year. For the small ruminant industry, shearing is one of those important tasks. In this episode of Forage Focus, OSU faculty and staff emphasize the importance of pasture management when preparing for the shearing of fleeced livestock. The presence of pasture weeds and time spent grazing prior to shearing can negatively impact the value and quality of your wool clip. For more tips on how to appropriately preparing for shearing day, be sure to take a listen to this short clip. We would also like to thank the Dave Cable Farm and 2021 Statewide Sheep Shearing School participants for their help in creating this film. For those interested in participating in any of our up-coming sheep shearing courses, please watch this page for event announcements.
Sponsored by the American Sheep Industry Association, Dr. Lisa Surber of LM Livestock Services discusses several topics in the wool industry including potential contaminates, how to market wool, as well as some trends in wool end uses. For those that still have wool on hand from spring shearing, this presentation will certainly be worth the listen.
American Sheep Industry
(American Wool Assurance (AWA) homepage)
The American Wool Assurance website launched today at AmericanWoolAssurance.org, allowing American sheep producers to take a crucial step in certifying their wool through this voluntary, American industry-driven certification process.
The American Sheep Industry Association worked with Colorado State University the past two years to develop the voluntary program and standards that will allow manufacturers to purchase American wool with confidence that the animals producing that wool have been raised with a high level of care. Industry input from producers, shearers, buyers, extension, animal welfare experts and processors was critical in development of program standards.
“This is something that consumers and brands are asking for increasingly, and so it has become Continue reading
Dr. Cate Williams, Institute of Biological, Environmental & Rural Sciences (IBERS), Aberystwyth University
(Previously published by Business Wales.gov: July 23, 2020)
How many of you still have wool on hand from last years wool clip? Have you decided when, where, and how you will sell it if at all? For those that are unsure, perhaps you could consider implementing a few of these alternative applications that would greatly benefit your operation this year and for many more to come.
- Sheep’s wool offers many benefits when used in a mixture as compost or mulch: as a source of slow-release nitrogen and other trace elements, in weed and pest control, moisture retention and temperature regulation.
- Wool may be used as a sustainable, renewable, and environmentally friendly alternative to peat.
- Other alternative uses include in thermal and noise insulation, particularly in the construction of new “eco-houses”.
- Further research is needed to establish optimum composting strategies and mixtures as well as how to upscale the process.
As the market for wool declines, producers may be looking for alternative ways to make use of their fleeces, particularly
Richard Brzozowski, Small Ruminant Specialist, University of Maine Cooperative Extension
(Previously published under the University of Maine: Cooperative Extension Publications)
Factors such as sheep health, nutrition, breed, bedding materials, forage feeding methods, moisture level, barn, and pasture conditions, stress as well as shearing technique, wool handling, and storage can influence the value of the wool harvested.
The quality of wool ought to be on the mind of the producer year-round as management decisions made months before shearing can affect the raw product and ultimately the finished products.
Your preparations for shearing will likely affect your bottom line. View your shearer (or shearing team) as a professional who is invited to your farm to accomplish this important task. Seek their input as you prepare your sheep and the facilities for shearing.
This checklist is designed as a basic framework to help producers make shearing day efficient and uneventful. Feel free to make changes to this checklist for your situation. Continue reading
In preparation for both fall and winter lambing, shearing the ewe flock is an important management practice that should be considered to improve the efficiency of your operation. Shearing sheep can be made easy when following this technique step by step or, in sheep terms, blow by blow. Ensuring that your sheep is in the correct location at all times will result in a low stress and successful shearing job. For those interested in learning more on how to properly shear your sheep, be on the look out for announcements in regards to our sheep shearing schools in 2021. Happy Shearing!
David Rowe, General Manager, Mid-States Wool Growers
People raise sheep for a variety of reasons. Most people are drawn to a particular breed because they like the way they look, they wish to show this breed or they know someone who raises this breed. All are good reasons to raise a breed, but the question on how to make money has not even been asked? As we know, the primary reason for most people to raise sheep is to produce a successful lamb crop that can be marketed as well as a wool clip that can be sold. Obviously, the hair breeds will only yield a lamb crop but for the purpose of this article, we will focus strictly on breeds of sheep that yield a wool clip and how we can best maximize our return on the wool we have to market. Continue reading