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Don't shear or pack wet wool

Wool merchants are getting hot under the collar about people packing wool when it’s damp. If this happens, then buyers can make big financial claims on the wool merchant – a recent claim for three bales of wet wool exported to China cost the wool merchant thousands of dollars.

Wool shorn and packed when it’s wet or damp can change colour significantly between testing before sale and the buyer receiving it overseas. Wet wool rots and stains, and these colours can’t be scoured (washed) out. In bad cases wet bales will heat up to the point of smouldering and cause a potential fire hazard in stores.

Shearers hate shearing wet sheep as it can cause boils on their legs – very painful. But it sometimes happens that when they’ve been held back with bad weather, they take the chance of shearing sheep when they’re a wee bit damp. Good shearers will not do this, as it’s against the Code of Practice for the Quality Assurance scheme they operate under.

You may only have a few sheep on a small block, but that wool will end up in a bale with other wool. Don’t let your wool ruin it for others or the merchant. If you’re in doubt – leave the fleeces spread out to dry if they’re a little bit damp.