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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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Lance, KJ 2000 , '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', Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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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
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

Item Type: Thesis - Research Master
Authors/Creators:Lance, KJ
Keywords: Wool, Wool industry
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

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).

Additional Information:

Thesis (M.Agr.Sc.)--University of Tasmania, 2001. Includes bibliographical references

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