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Grading your wool

All British Wool Graders have completed a 5 year apprenticeship, meaning we are able to assure the highest standards of quality across our depot network.

Every fleece we receive is individually assessed, which determines the grade and quality. Grading every fleece adds value for our farmers as this separates the better quality wool from the poorer, with the better quality achieving a higher price.

Fleeces are graded into ‘types’ rather than specific breeds, ensuring that auction buyers are provided with fleeces possessing the unique characteristics required to suit individual product requirements.

Grading terms

Hog First shear up to 15 months growth
Ewe Second or subsequent shear up to 12 months growth
No.1 Good uniformity of style, length, colour with a sound staple
No.2 Average uniformity of style, length and possibly some slight discolouration and/or staple weakness
Discoloured Natural discolouration, yellowness in colour
Soft cotts Slightly matted fibres
Cotts Matted fibres
Grey Grey fibre content more than expected within the fleece
Kemp Kempy fibre content more than expected within the fleece

British wool categories

Fine wool Charollais, Clun Forest, Dorset, Hampshire, Shropshire, Southdown, Suffolk and their crosses.
Grade numbers range from 203 to 291,
Medium wool Beltex, Bleu du Maine, Border Leicester, Halfbred Scotch/Welsh, Lleyn, Romney, Texel and their
crosses. Grade numbers range from 305 to 399.
Cross wool Masham, Mule, Scottish Greyface and their crosses. Grade numbers range from 403 to 491.
Lustre wool Bluefaced Leicester, Devon & Cornwall Longwool, Whiteface/Greyface Dartmoor,
Lincoln/Leicester Longwool, Teeswater, Wensleydale and their crosses. Grade numbers range
from 503 to 592.
Hill wool Cheviot, Exmoor Horn, Hill Radnor, Lonk, Shetland, Beulah/Welsh Hill Speckled Face and their
crosses. Grade numbers range from 600 to 699.
Mountain wool Blackface, Dalesbred, Rough Fell, Swaledale, Welsh Mountain and their crosses. Grade
numbers range from 707 to 791.