University of Tasmania
whole_LanceKylieJane2001_thesis.pdf (7.43 MB)

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

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posted on 2023-05-26, 16:40 authored by Lance, KJ
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 determining the methods with which they are reducing the occurrence of faults and variation within their clip may do this. The different management practices may also be looked at between the states to determine why NSW and Victorian areas have a lower occurrence of strength faults. Once the key issues have been identified the knowledge must be transferred to all wool producers so as to reduce the amount of strength faults within Tasmanian wool. Therefore, allowing Tasmania to produce sound wool and uphold and maintain their world reputation for producing the best quality Merino wool in the world.


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Copyright 2000 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (M.Agr.Sc.)--University of Tasmania, 2001. Includes bibliographical references

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