March 25, 2011

Wool Production in Canada Publication

I read the Canadian Co-operative Wool Growers Ltd and Canadian Sheep Association industry publication, "Wool Production in Canada."

I learned that "since 1920 annual raw shorn wool production has not met the requirements of Canadian consumption," and that we export wool, 70% of which goes to China.  I suppose we buy it back as finished goods?

I learned that "overfed ewes will have coarser wool."

I learned about crutching, where a ewe gets a trim so everything is sanitary when she lambs and nurses.  I will hazard a guess that this sheep in the first photo has been crutched and the sheep in the second photo has not:

The publication is very much geared to industry, concerned with managing every aspect in order to get a good return when selling in bulk to the wool clip.  Naturally-coloured wool is a dreaded, contaminating influence.  Shearing is invariably done under a waterproof roof.  There is talk of micron testing and statistical analysis.  So, a different side of wool than the handspinner usually sees.

The definitions throughout and the glossary at the back are helpful.  If I'd only read them a day earlier, I could have been much more precise and concise in a letter I just sent to a shepherd asking if it was possible to buy washed, unmilled wool.  What is the expected shrinkage and yield of raw fleece after scouring, that is what I wanted to say.

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