The Use of Wool in Compost and other Alternative Applications

Dr. Cate Williams, Institute of Biological, Environmental & Rural Sciences (IBERS), Aberystwyth University
(Previously published by Business Wales.gov: July 23, 2020)

(Image Source: Wind Valley Farms)

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

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Sheep and Wool Producers Checklist: Getting Ready for the Shearer

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

How to Shear Sheep – Blow by Blow

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!

Global Concern: How to Receive More for Your Wool Clip

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

An Alternative Use for Wool

Tim Lundeen, Feedstuffs editor
(Previously published in Feedstuffs, Nutrition and Health: August 17, 2018)

Wool may offer dietary protein source.

Wool protein hydrolysates offer promise as functional ingredient in pet foods as well as other foods and feeds.

Developing new products from available resources often requires scientists to think differently, and such new products can offer new revenue streams for animal agriculture sectors.

Researchers with New Zealand’s AgResearch have discovered that proteins from wool can be added to the diets of animals to improve their health, opening up a new market for the sheep industry. Continue reading

Wool Sheep Judging Tips

Brady Campbell, Program Coordinator, OSU Sheep Team

This past weekend at the University of Findlay, sheep breeders, judges, and enthusiast alike joined for a day filled with wool sheep breed judging advice, knowledge, and experience. The focus of this workshop was to expose judgers how to appropriately evaluate fleeces and wool sheep breeds. Continue reading

How to Receive More for your Wool Clip

David Rowe, General Manager, Mid-States Wool Growers

Food for thought as spring is upon us and the 2018 shearing season begins.

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 valid reasons to raise a specific breed of sheep, but the question on “how to make money” has not even been asked. As we know, the primary reason that most people raise sheep is to produce a successful lamb crop that can be marketed as well as a wool clip that can be sold as an additional product. Continue reading

Mid-States Wool Growers Celebrates 100 Years

Catie Noyes
(previously published in Farm and Dairy: February 28, 2018)

Ohio-based cooperative says good people, good service means loyal farmers.

(Image Source: Catie Noyes – Farm and Dairy)

For 100 years, Mid-States Wool Growers has been working with farmers big and small to help them market their wool. And for most producers marketing their wool through Mid-States Wool Growers Cooperative, it’s about loyalty.

Market prices are not the most ideal these days, but Stanley Strode, wool manager at Mid-States Wool Growers, does his best to make sure growers get a fair price for their wool. Continue reading

Sheep Judging (Wool Breeds) Workshop

Brady Campbell, Program Coordinator, OSU Sheep Team

Are you a sheep judge or plan to judge in the upcoming year? If so, do you judge shows at the community, county, state, and national levels? During these judging events, have you ever been asked to judge multiple breeds? More specifically, have you ever been asked to judge a wool breed of sheep?

If you answered yes to the above questions, there is an event that you should attend as you prepare for the 2018 show season. For those that may not feel as comfortable with judging wool sheep, The Ohio State University Extension will be holding a sheep judging workshop that specifically focuses on wool breeds. This workshop is designed to Continue reading

Shearing the Flock: When are you Shearing?

North Dakota State University
(Published in The Shepherd’s Guide – Supplement to The Shepherd Magazine)

Shearing sheep prior to lambing improves flock productivity. Shepherds have some simple ways to capitalize on one of the best lamb and wool markets the American sheep industry has seen. One of them is shearing sheep. It can have tremendous impacts on flock productivity, according to Reid Redden, North Dakota State University Extension Service sheep specialist. He recommends sheep producers have their sheep shorn 30 to 45 days before anticipated lambing for several reasons, including: Continue reading