The increases in wool prices over the past few years, have continued to make wool a valuable commodity. Taking the time to seek out and buy better-woolled sheep will pay in the long-run as the wool from these ewes and their offspring will earn more in years to come.
Not only will better-woolled sheep earn more for their wool “They are also likely to be better at coping with inclement weather and withstand all that the British environment can throw at them,” says Gareth Jones, British Wool Marketing Board’s (BWMB) Producer Communications Manager.
Additionally, farmers wanting to earn the most from their wool should avoid buying bloom dipped sheep, says BWMB’s Chief Operating Officer, Mark Powell.
“Tinted wool resulting from bloom dipping is worth significantly less than non bloom dipped wool. Based on the current wool price as detailed in the BWMB’s 2015 Wool Price Schedule, tinted wool is again worth on average 75p/fleece compared with non bloom dipped wool at £3.05/fleece, a significant difference of £2.30 a sheep.”
There is a long-standing tradition of bloom dipping sheep to make them more attractive to buyers at auction marts, explains Mr Powell. “But the buyers are risking losing out on a significant amount of money by buying these bloom dipped sheep as the wool will be worth a lower value once it’s been bloom dipped.”
Last year the BWMB began recognising the good work being done by wool producers in awarding certificates to those presenting their wool in an excellent manner. In 2014 approximately 500 Excellent Clip Presentation Certificates were presented to registered producers.
Rising wool prices mean many producers are again appreciating the need for wool to be handled well on farm and delivered to depots in as good a condition as is possible to help maximise the value of their wool clip, says Mr Powell. “This includes avoiding fleece artificial discolouration wherever possible. There may be a belief that the sheep look better for it, but the farmers’ pockets will be much lighter as a result.”