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Posted: Tuesday 10 May, 2011

by Rosemary at 9:01am in Sheep 2 comments Comments closed

The Ryeland breed is renowned for the quality of its fleece. I am no expert but I am hoping to increase my knowledge by attending a fleece workshop run by CSSA in June and by entering three fleeces in the appropriate classes at the Royal Highland Show. The latter will give me useful feedback on fleece quality. I am planning to enter Leo's fleece in the down sheep class and Nellie and Niamh's fleeces in the coloured class. Nellie and Niamh have quite different fleeces and it will be interesting to see how well they perform.

I've also registered with the British Wool Marketing Board. If you have more than four sheep, you are required to register with this farmer co-operative that buys and markets most British wool. I am hoping to get a derogation from selling to them as they don't pay much for coloured wool and I'd rather sell privately to craftspeople if I can.

The BWMB will assess rams' fleece free of charge or, for a fee, assess fleece on the hoof, if you are interested in breeding for fleece quality. The price of wool has been rising of late so perhaps it will become a more valuable crop than it has been.

Comments

denise newey

Wednesday 11 May, 2011 at 12:47am

We've got over 20 sheep and got our derrogation from the Wool Board no problem. They are a lot more understanding about sheep breeders with coloured or unsual fleeces selling privately

Ffarm Fach Jo

Monday 16 May, 2011 at 10:13pm

As we have a modest flock of (currently) 14 sheep & 8 lambs, I too had to join the scheme. However, I didn't get a woolsack or a ticket; just a snot-o-gram a few weeks after the Emlyn lorry had picked up all the regional fleeces; demanding that I deliver them to the centre in Brecon.

As the round trip would have cost me about £50 in fuel not to mention 5 hours of my very valuable time (on a good day); & bearing in mind that I would only be delivering circa £20's worth of wool (doesn't even cover the cost of shearing these days; let alone the slap-up Shearers' Tea on top of that) I politely but firmly told them "no, sorry". Initially they were quite stroppy but once I explained the economics - & that I hadn't even been told when the collection from Emyln Livestock Mart would be made - they appreciated my "common sense" attitude. I sold the fleeces to handspinners, for a little more than I would've got via the co-operative; & at least (being in the main, virtually worthless coloured fleeces) they went to make beautiful, warm, practical garments.

Many of our local farmers sell their fleece crop to Ireland to a natural loft insulation manufacturer: they get a better price & are proud to be doing something for the environment at the same time. :0)

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