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Bicester and Thame Sheep Fair by BWMB
Jul '11
Farmers planning to head for next week's British Wool Marketing Board sponsored Bicester and Thame Sheep Fair to buy flock replacement should pay careful attention to fleece quality in the sheep they buy, according to Gareth Jones, Producer Relations Manager at the British Wool Marketing Board.

“The recent increases in wool price, which have seen prices hit 25 year highs, have made wool a valuable commodity again. Taking the time to seek out and buy better-woolled sheep will pay in the long-run as the clip from these ewes will earn more in years to come.”

And not only will better-woolled sheep earn more for their wool. “They are also likely to be better able to cope with inclement weather and withstand all that the British environment can throw at them,” adds Mr Jones who will be at the sale to answer producers questions on the activities of BWMB and the wool market.

Additionally, farmers wanting to earn the most from their wool should avoid buying bloom dipped sheep, particularly if they intend to shear them this autumn, says BWMB Chief Wool Marketing Officer, Mark Powell.

“Tinted wool resulting from bloom dipping is worth significantly less than clean white wool. Based on current wool price schedule prices tinted wool is worth about 48p/fleece compared with white wool at £2.88/fleece, a difference of £2.40 a sheep.”

There is a long-standing tradition of bloom dipping sheep to make the more attractive to buyers, explains Mr Powell. “But the buyers are losing out on a significant amount of money by buying these bloom dipped sheep as the wool is of very low value once it's been dipped.”

Rising wool prices mean many producers are now once again beginning to appreciate the need for wool to be handled well on farm and delivered to depots in as good a condition as is possible, says Mr Powell. “This includes avoiding fleece discolouration wherever possible. There may be a belief that the sheep look better for it, but the farmers' pockets will be much lighter as a result.”

British Wool Marketing Board

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