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 Knowledge for the CommonWealth

Wool Handling and Storage

Livestock Update, June 1998

Scott Greiner, Animal and Poultry Sciences, Virginia Tech

Care should be taken in the handling and storage of wool prior to delivery and shipment. Wool should be stored in jute (burlap) bags that prevent contamination. Plastic bags do not allow the wool to breathe and may result in rotting of the wool. Wool bags should be stored in a dry area and not stored directly on a cement or dirt floor. Storage directly on a cement or dirt floor may allow the wool to take on moisture and rot, or the bag may rot and break making handling difficult. Wool bags should be stored up on wood planks or pallets to allow air to circulate completely around the stored wool.

Due to the wet spring, several ewes remain to be sheared. Proper management of the sheep prior to shearing and clean shearing facilities will help maximize the quality of the wool clip. Ewes should be taken off feed at least 12 hours prior to shearing, especially if the sheep have been grazing. This will help keep the both the shearing area as well as the fleeces free of manure. The shearing area should be kept free of straw and other vegetable matter. This time of year, “tags” should be removed from fleeces and bagged separately. Additionally, fleeces with excessive burrs or black fiber should be sorted off.

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