AbstractsBusiness Management & Administration

A characterisation of Tasmanian wool quality and that of similar wool producing regions on the Australian mainland for the 1991/92 to 1996/97 seasons

by Kylie Jane Lance

Institution: University of Tasmania
Year: 2000
Keywords: Wool; Wool; Wool industry; Wool industry
Record ID: 1032342
Full text PDF: http://eprints.utas.edu.au/20488/1/whole_LanceKylieJane2001_thesis.pdf


Tasmania produces a small proportion, between 2-3% of Australia's wool. The wool produced has the reputation worldwide of producing a high quality fine product. There is however no supporting evidence or general characterisation of Tasmanian wool quality. It is thought that if the superiority of Tasmanian wool could be demonstrated that it could be used to optimise and develop markets for Tasmanian wool. The Tasmanian wool clip is not uniform but rather a highly variable product and this is expressed by the region of production, sheep breed and type, farming system, seasonal conditions and flock management. The interactions of these factors have resulted in considerable variation in the productivity of sheep between different regions. The characteristics of Tasmanian wool have been analysed using wool test results across the season's 1991/92 to 1996/97. The Tasmanian areas analysed incorporated the East Coast, Midlands and Flinders Island. The results of this characterisation showed that Tasmania's wool quality varies considerably between seasons and across the state. It also determined that: 1. Tasmania had high levels of staple strength faults across the state. 2. Colour fault levels were low except for the northern part of the state where the annual rainfall is high and influences the clean colour of the fleece. 3. Vegetable matter fault was at very low levels across the state and rarely reached above the 1.1% level in the fleece wool. The only significant type of vegetable matter present was seed/shive. Burrs and hardheads occurred at minuscule levels. Key competing areas, with Tasmania, in NSW and Victoria were selected and also characterised so to determine the advantages or benefits of Tasmanian wool. This characterisation also showed the high levels of variation between states and seasons. Upon comparing the levels and variation of the various faults across the three states, it indicated: a) Tasmania had the lowest levels of vegetable matter fault across the three states. b) Colour levels within the fleeces were influenced by the climatic conditions of the season and followed a seasonal pattern across the six seasons (1991/92 to 1996/97) within all states. Tasmania had the lowest levels of colour fault excluding the northern area of the state. c) Staple strength is the area of wool quality that is Tasmania's downfall when comparisons are made with NSW and Victoria. Tasmania has a higher occurrence of strength faults across the state than either NSW or Victorian areas. Although strength faults have been reduced within Tasmania across the six seasons it is still not uncommon for over 20% of fleeces to have a strength fault within any one season. However a number of areas within Tasmania have managed to reduce the occurrence of staple strength faults over the last six seasons. The key to improving strength across the state is to determine the combination of management practices that are producing sound wool. Identifying the growers that are producing sound wool and…