After discussions that occurred at Wool Council
Meetings at ASI Convention, a representative from a major US knitter
wanted to continue the discussion concerning the possibility of
utilizing US wool. This is now a possibility because of the new
superwash procedure available at Charguers. A fact finding tour was
conducted involving a Montana warehouse, a Montana producer, the
Montana Wool Laboratory, a representative from Charguers, and a US
spinner, together with a representative of the knitter. Following
that discussion, a survey of objective measurements of US wools and
Australian wools and their suitability for use in socks was
conducted. A complete report of results is included in an attached
report. Results indicate that good quality US wools may actually be
superior to typical Australian wool for use in socks because of
their increased crimp, resistance to compression and bulk. Based on
these results a series of meetings have been held between the
management of a major sock knitter, a major spinning firm, Charguers
Wool, a wool warehouse, producers and the Montana Wool Laboratory.
The sock knitter has made a trial run using US wool and is planning
on expanding use of US wool in their products.
The Labs continue to evaluate the adaption of the NIRS to
estimate grease in yield determination and yield. To date testing
failed to provide the precision necessary. Based on this testing it
appears that current NIRS technology is not suitable for evaluating
residual grease in US wools. The laboratory’s are continuing to
evaluate its use in evaluating ash.
Both Texas A&M and Montana State continue to implement the use of
testing of individual animals for selection purposes. Both
Laboratories have upgraded their individual sample testing
capabilities form the OFDA 2000 to OFDA 4000. Samples from 12,3692
(10,100 from Montana State and 2,692 Texas A&M) individual animals
have been tested in the current calendar year (since January 1,
2012). It is estimated that approximately ½ of the samples were from
purebred sheep operations that are utilizing results in their
selection programs. Much of the wool data utilized in NSIP was
objectively evaluated through this project. NSIP records were
evaluated on 2417 Targhee sheep. Summary graphs indicate a steady
increase in grease fleece while fiber diameter remains steady (this
is the selection objective). Rams with measured fiber diameter
commanded higher prices in fall ram sales. Texas A&M AgriLife has
assisted Rambouillet producers improve the genetics of this breed
since 1949 by conducting an annual central performance test. During
the last 5 years an average of 82 rams have participated in the
test. Over the last 5 years clean fleece weight has increased 10%
(10.2 to 11.2 lbs.), with a concomitant increase in staple length of
6% (5.4 – 5.8 in.) and an increase in average fiber diameter of 4%
(22.3 – 22.7 μm). Average daily gain has remained about constant
over the last 5 years at 0.8 lbs/day. The Bill Sims Wool and Mohair
Research Laboratory conduct the objective analysis on fleeces in
support of this performance test.
Samples have been collected from 3 different clips of wool from
different geographical regions of the country. Arrangements have
been made to send samples from each clip to each of the 5 field
units for fiber diameter analysis. To date results have been
obtained on 3 of the units for comparison purposes. A complete
report of results is included in an attached report. Results
indicate that calibrations on each of the three units provided
highly accurate results and recalibration was not necessary.
Differences between units was largely due to differences in grease
correction factor which is generally a problem in field units
(Kott, R. W., B. L. Roeder, and
L.M.M. Surber. 2010. Sorting lines of wool with the OFDA2000.
International J. of Sheep and Wool Science. 58:50-60).
We continue to expand the number of OFDA machines and the number
and geographically distributions of wool samples in our data
analyses into the 2012 grant.