To measure is to know.
Testing your wool is an eye-opener.
If you have wool sheep, you want to know what the condition of your wool is. In addition to strength and colour, the fineness of the wool is also important. I keep Shetlands myself and over the years I have tried to improve the wool of my sheep without losing the specific characteristics of the shetland wool.
Twenty-five years ago we imported a ram which, in addition to its beautiful conformation, also had a very fine fleece. The quality of the wool then rose rapidly. Not only looking at the conformation of your ram, but also at the quality of the wool does wonders. We went from 30 micron to 21-24 micron. And we do this by having the wool tested. Especially the rams, because they have the most impact. Apart from my sheep I write books about wool and sheep. Of all the breeds I’ve reviewed, I’ve had wool tested. Apart from the fact that readers want to know if the wool is good for spinning or felting, they also want to know if the wool is wearable.
I have that testing done at Art If Fibre, formerly AAFT. They are very fast and efficient, and if you have any questions they will be answered immediately. And they are not expensive.
This is important because the price usually stands in the way of having wool tested. Too few breeders are using this and I hope that this will change.
My advice to sheep breeders is to work together and send in wool samples with other breeders, that makes a huge difference to the price.
So far I’ve had a few hundred wool samples tested and I will send many more samples in the future.