Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Hair contaminates wool

With the rising number of hair sheep has come rising incidents of hair fiber contamination in U.S. wool clips. A small amount of hair can contaminate a lot of wool.

Like any other contaminant, such as poly or vegetable matter, the presence of hair in a wool clip will devalue it immensely or make the wool worthless. Non-wool fibers such as hair, kemp, and medulated fibers present processing difficulties.

hair x wool lambsProducers who have both hair sheep and wool sheep have to be the first line of defense against hair contamination. Hair sheep and wool sheep should not be run together if the producer intends to sell wool, as shedded fibers will work their way into a wool fleece.

Hair sheep and wool sheep should not be sheared together, if sheared at all, and hair sheep should be sheared after all other wool sheep. Producers need to be very vigilant with wool/hair sheep crosses, especially the first generation. While their fleece may look like wool, it actually is hiding the hair fiber underneath.
Hair x wool crosses should be sheared after wool sheep and their "fleeces" should be discarded.

Source: "Hair contamination still a problem in U.S. wool clip." Sheep Industry News, February 2008