February 13, 2004
Feb. 13, 2004 -- Polypropylene is the No. 1 contaminate in U.S. wool.?This is one of the primary areas of focus identified by?the Shearing Task Force, recently assembled by the American Sheep Industry Association?s Wool Council. The?task force was formed to?develop programs?with an integral sector of the wool?industry -- shearing?crews. The poly problem was identified as significant, and programs to win this battle were identified as a priority. Producers and shearers need to work together to solve the contamination problem in the corral and year-round.?
?There are a number of poly sources that can contaminate wool, such as hay baling twine and feed bags. However, the wool processing trade has told us that contamination from cheap blue and orange poly tarps is on the increase,? said Jim Bristol, Shearing Task Force chairman.
Poly tarps are routinely used on sheep operations for a number of reasons, from covering haystacks to providing wind protection in inclement weather. ?The tarps are popular because they are inexpensive and lightweight, but they also fall apart quickly and contaminate wool,? continued Bristol.
Shearing crews and producers who use poly tarps increase the risk of contaminating their wool, which can reduce the value of the clip and expose the buyer to claims.
?We want to educate shearers and their crews about the potential of wool contamination when they use these tarps?in corrals and recommend other alternatives to them,? added Bristol.??It is also necessary to inform producers about other sources of poly contamination?that can?occur throughout the growing season, such as the risk of contaminating?wool with poly by using tarps to cover haystacks.?
The Wool Council is working with Woolsacks, Inc., a major U.S. supplier of nylon wool packs, to investigate the cost and supply of lightweight, durable nylon tarps. Although contamination may still occur with nylon tarps, it would be less obtrusive since nylon?can be dyed with wool.
Staff contact: Rita Kourlis Samuelson, ext. 29