Staple Length & Strength

  • Length and strength is the only characteristic of cross bred wool not objectively tested up till now, having been subjectively assessed (visual and touch).

  • East Coast Wools (FTW) has been participating with New Zealand Wool Testing Authority (NZWTA) and the New Zealand Ministry Science and Innovation (NZMSI) in a trial on testing length and strength of cross bred wool.

  • FTW has been paying for these tests for the last three months but will now include the cost on all client account sales. NZTE is providing funding for this trial so the cost is heavily subsidised at only $7.00 per lot. This subsidy should last until the end of June 2013.

  • This information will be used in the selling of your wool at auction.

Your wool is valued according to its various characteristics i.e. colour, greasy yield, micron, vegetable matter, length and strength. These all contribute to how wool will preform when processed. Modern textile machines are now very fast and efficient, therefore length and strength of the the fibre become critical. Having accurate length and strength data allows processing performance to be predicted, thus adding value to raw wool.

When wool is sold to mills a length will be specified in the contract. Getting this wrong means the buyer will reject or claim on the final delivery. This can be very costly when some of the deliveries are hundreds of tons. To avoid this risk, exporters often use a certain amount of longer than specified wool in a blend to guarantee that the delivery meets length requirements. This adds to the cost of that Lot of wool. Being able to know the accurate length of each component in a blend makes wool more valuable to a buyer.

Staple length and strength is a major factor in the value of wool. Subjective testing leaves room for human error and therefore the risk involved in this process is reflected in the valuation, with buyers building in a risk margin for this uncertainty. Independent objective assessment gives all sectors of the industry greater confidence to value wool to its true potential.
Benefits of length and strength measurement:

  • Provides confidence that the buyers’ assessments are accurate.

  • Reduces the need for a risk margin.

  • Increases competition from buyers.

  • Gives equity in pricing. 

  • Captures the real value which can be lost if characteristics are underestimated.

  • Provides information for farm management decision.