Information for consumers about British Wool Products

Hints & Tips on Wool Handling with Jayne

Jayne Harkness-Bones works as Joint Depot Manager for Ulster Wool (a joint venture with British Wool) in Antrim, Northern Ireland. Jayne was born into the farming industry and is a seventh generation farmer on her family’s farm.  She’s also been a member of the Northern Ireland competitive shearing & wool handling team, so knows a thing or two about wool handling!

Why is good wool handling important?

Correct presentation of your wool at shearing time is vital to maximise as much return as possible for your clip.  If you don’t look after it, your return won’t be as good as it could be.

What’s the most important thing to remember when handling wool?

Always be aware of your surroundings, and take multi-tasking to the next level! When sheep are being shorn there’s lots to think about in a short space of time – where the shearer is within the process, the actual hands-on rolling of the wool, and being alert to sheep escaping. Mastering a repetitive routine is important, but you have to be competent in adjusting and adapting to unpredictable factors.

What do you enjoy about wool handling?

I’ve enjoyed helping with the wool since I was young.  Shearing was always a busy time as my dad was a shearing contractor, and when our sheep were being clipped I was always about to help out. I just love everything about wool really, especially the fact that sheep spend a year growing such a wonderful and versatile fibre.

Any expert tips for on farm wool handling?

Make sure your wool is dagged and rolled up neatly as you can, keeping coloured fleeces completely separate. Any coloured fibres will contaminate your good non-coloured wool, so it definitely pays to be really careful, a top tip is to shear all coloured sheep last. Also, get your clip into the depot as soon as you can after shearing – as storing it can sometimes be difficult. If your wool gets damaged or wet, this will dramatically reduce your clip value.

When you’re sending your wool in to the depot, make sure you pack sheets as full as you can, as this will reduce your haulage costs.  Also, put a label inside and on the outside of every sheet so the depot can clearly identify your wool.

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Hints & Tips on Wool Handling with Jayne Jayne at Balmoral Show, 2016
Young Jayne helping out at shearing time.