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Made in American: Wool from Sheep to Shelf Lisa Surber, PhD Montana Wool Lab Montana Wool Lab.

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Presentation on theme: "Made in American: Wool from Sheep to Shelf Lisa Surber, PhD Montana Wool Lab Montana Wool Lab."— Presentation transcript:

1 Made in American: Wool from Sheep to Shelf Lisa Surber, PhD Montana Wool Lab Montana Wool Lab

2 Measuring Wool Subjective measurements of wool to determine its quality and value (i.e. grade) has been practiced within the sheep industry for decades, the way the industry measures fiber diameter has been modified and changed with advances in wool technology. Objective fiber testing can be a powerful marketing and selection tool. It allows breeder to make selections and track improvements in breeding programs (NSIP). From a commercial producer’s perspective it can be equally important because it gives them an actual micron and not one person’s opinion of grade.

3 Fiber Diameter Fiber diameter is a function of both genetics and environmental conditions such as nutrition of the animal. Nutrition can play a huge role. – As the plane of nutrition increases wool micron will get coarser.

4 Fiber Diameter When a potential buyers looks at the raw micron value of a ram he/she should really examine the condition of that ram. – Rams that have been fed up and are in really good condition (maybe even fat) for ram sales will be the coarsest they will ever be in their life and under range conditions will get finer. Another indication of fiber diameter is the micron EPD. – A ram with a fiber diameter EPD of 0 is average for the Targhee breed and equates to a clip micron of around 22 microns. – Negative fiber diameter EPD will producer offspring that are finer, positive micron EPD will produce offspring that are coarser.


6 Fiber Diameter Thickness of Fiber measured in Microns – A micron is 1 millionth of a meter 1/25,400 th of an inch Average of thousands of fiber measurements Wool Growth is not “uniform” on the animal – 2 fibers growing next to each other – Along the growth of a single fiber Spinning Count: the hanks (560 yards) of yarn from a pound of top.

7 Standard Deviation (SD) Statistical measurement of the variability 2/3 of the fibers fall with in +/- a SD of the mean or average Smaller the number, the more uniform the sample The finer the average fiber diameter the smaller the SD.

8 Standard Deviation (SD) Example: 23 micron AFD & SD of 3.0 micron 2/3 of fiber measure between 20 – 26 micron Why is this important? Uniformity affects wool processing outcome – spinning of yarn, uniformity and appearance of product

9 Coefficient of Variation (%CV) Variability expressed in a percentage % CV = SD / AFD x 100 Useful as it allows for comparisons of uniformity with differing AFD’s Ideally, an individual animal sample should have a %CV less than 20%

10 Comfort Factor (% CF) Percentage of fibers equal to or less than 30 micron in diameter Opposite of “Prickle Factor” (negative term) Fibers over 30 micron in diameter are rigid and do not bend when they contact the skin Products made to be worn next to the skin require a comfort factor of 95% or more

11 Histogram A graph showing measurement breakdown of the wool sample AFD Quick and easy way to “view” the sample for AFD, SD, and CV

12 Micron Profile Along Staple Fiber Diameter Measurements Left side tip, Right side base of fiber Can see how environmental differences are affecting the AFD during the growing season Unlike an EKG – a “Flat Line” is Good

13 Micron Profile Drastic changes in diameter can cause a weakness in the fiber strength and can impact processing ability (breaks) Use the information to make management decisions to grow more sound wool – Shearing in relationship to lambing – Feeding strategies


15 Curvature Measurement of the crimp Correlated with Bulk and Resistance to Compression ratios Still debating what it really means and how it affects processing performance of wool



18 Fee Services Wool Samples Wool Samples OFDA ,714 samples as of 1/9/14, up 25% in 12 months OFDA ,714 samples as of 1/9/14, up 25% in 12 months OFDA 100 – 872 samples OFDA 100 – 872 samples Fabric – 1,117 samples Fabric – 1,117 samples Biggest area of growth in fee services is on-site use of the OFDA Biggest area of growth in fee services is on-site use of the OFDA

19 Worldwide shortage of micron wools

20 US-Made Socks are HOT! Companies like Fox River, Wigwam, Darn Tough, Title9, and Filson are making a “Made in the USA” sock FITS

21 Made in the USA with American Wool

22 New Wool Products – Superwash Machine wash and tumble dry on low Wool shrink treatment processing (Chargeurs Wool USA Jamestown, SC) – Washable wool process to US that is currently being done overseas – Applied to a sliver of top, created after combing and produces shrink-resistant wool top US military is the largest consumer of domestic wool Berry Amendment: requires all textile processes and products to be entirely of US origin; otherwise they cannot be used by DOD

23 Science of Superwash – Process exposes fiber to a mild chlorine solution, rinsed, polymer resin is added to fiber Treatment allows fiber to be machine- washed without felting Wool fibers are composed of a series of overlapping scales – The Superwash process adheres these scales to one another, after which the fiber can be machine-washed.

24 AUSTUS AUST Micron21.5 Crimp/in189 Curv NZ Bulk3327 US wool is superior to Australian wools for some knitting purposes

25 The future

26 Increased demand for next to skin fabrics in knitting industry Companies like Rambler’s Way, Icebreaker, Title 9, VOORMI, and IBEX

27 From Sheep to Shop, Ibex Introduces 100% U.S. Resources in Shak Lite Line for Fall 2012

28 Icebreaker

29 Icebreaker

30 Icebreaker

31 Icebreaker

32 Icebreaker





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