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OBJECTIVE MEASURES OF WOOL FIBER CHARACTERISTICS
This project has several objectives that support the American Sheep Industry Association and the ASI Wool Councils goals for the improvement of the U.S. sheep industry. Objective one encourages the identification and evaluation of new technologies that enhance our abilities to objectively measure the physical properties of greasy wool and other animal fibers. These measurements provide the U.S. sheep producer the tools necessary to market their wools more effectively on the domestic as well as international marketplace. Approximately 70% of the domestic wool clip is now exported. The laboratory procedures required to supply the necessary information producers need to produce and market a better product also requires that updated techniques and instrumentation be identified. Currently there are several test methods that use wet chemistry techniques, in one of the processes solvents used in this process are becoming difficult to obtain and have health and safety issues related to their use. New techniques must be identified to replace current methods and materials. Objective two promotes communications between research organizations, producer groups, end-user groups and regulatory groups. Communication is essential to provide information that will assist in effectively producing, marketing, and objectively measuring the raw fiber to enhance its utilization. Direct contact with producers conveys new technologies to help them improve the efficiency of wool production and aids in marketing of wool in the most cost-effective and efficient manner. Attending conferences where all segments of the wool industry gather together is essential. A multitude of information about current markets, forecasts for raw wool use, problems facing the processing industry that are the result of farm practices, can be discussed and solutions identified. Identification of new technologies that will enhance the ability to measure, describe, and process wool are discussed. Active participation in both national (ASTM- American Society for Testing Materials) and international (IWTO- International Wool Textile Organization) meetings allows for the flow of information vital to testing and marketing of wools to both the domestic and international market. Objective three will contribute to solving a potential crisis currently facing the sheep industry in the United States, the lack of professional shearers?. The main emphasis of the project will be effectiveness of biological compounds for defleecing sheep, without the need for shearing. Increasing the desirability of raw wool to processors will provide another means of increasing sales of raw wool both within the U.S. and worldwide. Improvement of color decreases the problems processors have when trying to dye the finished products, this increases the raw wools value to the processor.
USDA CRIS Project Information Link: 0218662