Montana State University - Wool Education and Research

A true merit of sheep production is the dual-purpose nature of products produced i.e., lamb and wool. Wool contributes 12 percent of the gross income on fine wool flocks and more for those growers with reputation clips. Montana State and Texas A&M AgriLife are the only academic wool labs remaining in the U.S. Funding is required for these labs to identify immerging challenges within the industry and find solutions that add value to the domestic industry. Recent and ongoing efforts to improve yield, validation of wool analytical instruments and quantify contamination have been made possible through funding from NSIIC.
Notwithstanding these previous efforts, at times a comprehensive needs assessment (meta- analysis) of the U.S. wool industry needs to be conducted to determine future needs. Prudent use offuture funding requires objective assessment of the industry in 2016. Thus we propose to conduct a comprehensive data-based, industry-wide survey with the collaboration of wool warehouses and first stage processors to identify existing and immerging challenges within the industry. Results will provide much needed guidance on future research and education efforts. Through non-anecdotal identification of U.S. wool industry challenges targeted research and education can then be tailored to specific regions thereby enhancing the competitiveness of the entire industry

Project objectives

1. In collaboration with wool-warehouses, broker/exporters and first-stage processors analyze wool quality parameters (fiber diameter, yield, length, strength, % vegetable matter, % medullation) to evaluate region specific challenges and opportunities.

2. Conduct wool-warehouse, first-stage processing surveys to identify perceived challenges and opportunities in research and education efforts.

3. Quantify specific economic measures related to current level and quality of wool produced within the US.

4. Identify and refine selection strategies (through survey) that increase wool production while increasing lamb production through use of NSIP and other quantitative selection strategies.

5. Provide the necessary wool testing for growers and assist in the interpretation of results for use in management, selection and marketing purposes.