Sheep are big business in Australia. We are the leading producer of wool in the world, accounting for around 25 per cent of world production.
The gross value of Australian wool is $2.9 billion.
There are 3.1 sheep for every person in Australia.
Australia produces eighty per cent of the world’s fine Merino wool and the major export market for our wool is China.
The first Merinos in Australia produced about 1.5 kilograms of wool per fleece. Today’s Merinos can grow a fleece of more than 8kg. This is as a result from better breeding and more sustainable grazing methods i.e.
producing more from the same animals and land.
ABOUT MERINO WOOL
Merino wool is a natural fibre that is soft to touch and comfortable to wear. It keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer. Wool is stain resistant, odour resistant and has natural anti-static properties. Woollen
products are easy to care for.
Wool is used to make clothing and textiles, furnishings and insulation.
Wool is a renewable natural resource — it’s not only soft against the skin, but gentle on the planet.
Roughly, 70% of the sheep in Australia are pure-bred Merinos. The Merino is the most common breed found in Australia because it suits the environment and is a dual-purpose breed. This means it can produce
both wool and meat.
A professional modern shearer can shear about 140 to 180 sheep a day (a shearer using the old hand shears might have shorn about 80 to 120 sheep a day).
To manage diseases and pests in their flocks, wool producers vaccinate, drench, control lice and flies, rotate their animals through paddocks and use selective breeding techniques.
The Woolmark brand was created in 1964 and is the world’s best known textile fibre brand. The value of the brand is well established the world over in the apparel, interior textiles and home laundry sectors.
In 2014, the Woolmark is celebrating 50 years in existence!
The Woolmark brand provides consumers with guaranteed fibre content and an assurance of quality. Since its creation, the Woolmark brand has been applied to over 2 billion garments.
An average Merino wether can produce up to five kilograms of wool each year.
You can estimate the age of a sheep by its teeth.
Sheep only have front teeth in their lower jaw, but have molars at the back on both their top and bottom jaw.
It’s not uncommon for ewes (female sheep) to give birth to twins, and even triplets.
The first mechanical handpiece in Australia was used during 1887 — before that shearers used large hand shears (like big scissors). Human hair grows about 10mm per month and wool grows about 6mm per month.
The natural oil in wool (lanolin) coats each fibre and helps give the fleece its unique insulation properties.
It wasn’t until 3500 BC that man learned to spin wool and the earliest sheep growers used their fleeces as a kind of tunic.
You don’t have to be a woolgrower to have an awesome career in the wool industry – speak to some
people with other jobs across the wool industry to find out why they love their work so much and how
you can be involved!