Sheep Wool Production Information

Sheep Wool Production Information:

The following article is about sheep wool production.

Sheep wool
Sheep Wool.

Approximately 90 percent of the world’s sheep produce wool. One sheep produces anywhere from 2 to 30 pounds of wool annually. The wool from one sheep is called a fleece, from many sheep, a clip. The amount of wool that a sheep produces depends upon its breed, genetics, nutrition, and shearing interval. Lambs produce less wool than mature animals. Due to their larger size, rams usually produce more wool than ewes of the same breed or type.

Sheep Wool Production- Long wool sheep
Long wool sheep usually produce the heaviest fleeces because their fibers, though coarser, grow the longest. Hand spinners tend to prefer wool from the long wool breeds because it is easier to spin.

Some sheep produce very coarse fibers. This type of wool is called carpet wool, and as the name suggests is used to make carpets and tapestries. According to the International Wool Textile Organization (I.W.T.O.), 41 percent of world wool production is classified as coarse wool.

Sheep Wool Production- Medium wool sheep
Medium wool sheep, raised more for meat than fiber, produce the lightest weight, least valuable fleeces. Medium wool is usually made into blankets, sweaters, or socks or it is felted. According to the I.W.T.O., 22 percent of world wool production is classified as medium wool.

Sheep Wool Production- Fine wool sheep
Fine wool sheep produce fleeces which usually have the greatest value due to their smaller fiber diameter and versatility of use. Garments made from fine wool are less likely to itch. According to the I.W.T.O., 37 percent of world wool production is classified as fine wool.

Sheep Wool Production- Hair sheep
Hair sheep shed their coats and produce no usable fibers. The “fleeces” from hair sheep and hair x wool crosses should be discarded. Their inclusion in a wool clip can contaminate the entire clip. Even raising wool sheep along side hair sheep or other shedding animals could affect fleece quality of the wooled sheep. Hair will not accept dye.

A wool pool is a collection point for wool from many producers. At the pool, wool is sorted and packaged into different lots. The entire pool is sold to one mill, often via silent bid. Some producers sell their wool to hand spinners or have it made into yarn or blankets. When prices are low, some producers throw their wool away or give it to their shearer.

Value of wool
The value of wool is based on its suitability for specific end uses, as well as the fundamentals of the world wool market. Raw wool is usually purchased on the basis of grade. Grade denotes the average fiber diameter and length of individual fibers. The grade (or price) is reduced if the wool is dirty and contains a lot of vegetable matter or other contaminants.

In the commercial market, white wool is more valuable than colored wool because it can be dyed any color. Even the wool from sheep with white faces is more valuable than the wool from sheep with dark or meddled faces because the fleeces from non-white face sheep may contain colored wool or hairs which cannot be dyed. In contrast, naturally colored wool are often favored in the niche markets.

Wool marketing
In India, large producers of wool usually sell their wool to warehouses or directly to wool mills. Sometimes, the wool is sold on a clean (scoured) basis with the lower quality belly removed from the clip. Small producers often sell their wool (raw) through wool pools.

In India

Magra is most lustrous carpet wool producing sheep breed of India being improved at CSWRI, ARC, Bikaner through selective breeding

Sheep producers can get more money for their wool if they direct market it to hand spinners or add value to it. In niche markets, there is no upper limit as to what wool can sell for

sheep wool
Sheep Wool.

Wool is a freely-traded international commodity, subject to global supply and demand. While wool represents only 3% of world fiber production, it is important to the economy and way of life in many countries. Though China is the largest producer of wool, Australia dominates the world wool market. China is the largest wool buyer.

The Top 5 Countries that Produce the Most Wool:

Country Wool Production
(metric tonnes)
China 386,768 mt
Australia 382,300 mt
New Zealand 165,800 mt
United Kingdom 67,000 mt
Iran 60,000 mt

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