The severe drought in Texas this year caused a shift in sheep production. Many producers throughout the country stepped up to help the Texas sheep producers by working out pasture leases, flock leases and even purchase agreements to keep Texas genetics in production.
Traditionally, Texas sheep are known to have a finer micron wool than sheep from some other regions and that fine wool is in demand. Therefore, with this year's record wool prices, it could increase the value of the wool clip for producers who bought or are managing these flocks if they handle this wool differently than their traditional clip. It should be noted that the micron of a specific animal may vary due to changes in nutrition and management. Wools, which are marketed for best value, will benefit from being objectively measured. The companies that traditionally buy the Texas-type wools from specific customers will want to continue to gather these wools even though they are no longer calling the Lone Star State home.
If possible, the sheep should be kept separate from those with a courser micron count, as well as from those sheep with black fiber or hair.
However, even if they are run with different quality wool sheep, it is important that the finer wooled sheep be separated and sheared first, before all others, to avoid contamination from subsequent rounds of shearing. Since there is a significant price difference between 19.5 wool and 20.5 or 21.5 wools, producers can maximize their profits by separating these wools.
Overall, with proper preparation and a few extra precautions, producers should be able to see the potential of the Texas fine wools, if they came from quality sheep with strong wool genetics. The strong wool market should give all producers incentive to plan ahead to produce the highest quality wool clip possible.