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Sheep Update

Livestock Update, October 1998

Scott Greiner, Extension Animal Scientist, Sheep, Animal and Poultry Sciences, Virginia Tech

Virginia/North Carolina Shepherds' Symposium
Educational programs are currently being finalized for the 1998 Virginia/North Carolina Shepherd's Symposia to be held at the Donaldson-Brown Hotel and Conference Center at Virginia Tech on December 4 & 5. The symposium will feature speakers related to lamb marketing, forage production and management, wool handling and marketing, and flock health. Demonstrations and hands-on activities will also be included at the Virginia Tech Sheep Center. Program registration material including program details will be available in mid-October. Contact: Scott Greiner

Wool Handling and Marketing Changes
Industry changes in the way in which wool is handled and marketed will have an impact on wool pools throughout the United States. The wool industry has made several significant recommendations that have been adopted and will become effective January 1, 1999. The basis for these changes is to standardize the way in which wool is traded and to enhance the competitiveness of the U.S. wool industry. The first change is that jute (burlap) bags will be phased out and replaced by plastic bags to reduce contamination in processed wool due to jute. Plastic bags are currently being tested and developed, and should be available to the industry by January 1. Producers may continue to bag and store wool in jute bags until all jute is phased out. Secondly, wool will need to be packaged in large square bales weighing 400-600 pounds. Packaging in bales will significantly reduce transportation and storage costs for wool processors, and standardize the manner in which wool is handled. Third, all wool will need to be sold on a clean basis, which will require grading, sampling, and sorting of wool for pools. Representatives of the Virginia/North Carolina pool have met to address how these changes will effect our pools, and are currently making plans for marketing the pools' wool in 1999.

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