Wool Quality Improvement Program: Industry Standards
OBJECTIVE: ACTION PLAN FOR GOAL NO 1.
THE FOLLOWING REPORT OUTLINES THE WORK DONE BY THE TEAM SELECTED TO SEEK CONSENSUS ON SPECIFIC TOPICS RELATED TO THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE AMERICAN WOOL CLIP, AND HELP SET COMMON INDUSTRY STANDARDS, AS DEFINED DURING THE "WOOL QUALITY IMPROVEMENT SUMMIT" HELD IN DENVER, SEPTEMBER 28-30, 1997.
More than 90% of the American Wool Buyers, all the wool Processors, the main end-users, the ATMI, the Boston Wool Trade Association, the Northern Textile Association (NTA), Dealers, Traders, Warehouses, Cooperatives, Pools, and Growers, were asked for their formal input and support on Goal No 1.
To this date we have only received vast support for the changes suggested. Hereunder are the points put forward, and some additions that were collected during the process.
The next steps are to obtain Industry validation, and a detailed action plan that must emerge from there. The goal is to present this initiative at the ASI convention in Reno, Nevada, during January 98. Another task force may emerge from there to put this into formal action.
At this stage, some of the major wool processors are already implementing some of these standards as their own for the '98 wool season.
The matter has the World’s general attention, as all Wool producing countries are involved in packing changes.
ELIMINATE ALL JUTE BAGS-PACKS BY JAN 1, 1999.
Once achieved, the USA will be the last important Wool producing country to phase-out jute from the Industry.
INTRODUCE THE FOLLOWING INDUSTRY ACCEPTED PACKING MATERIALS:
2.1 HIGH DENSITY POLYETHYLENE WOVEN PACKS ("AUSTRALIAN SQUARE PACKS")
Acceptable for the USA industry until Jan 1, ’99. After 1999, these packs are forbidden by law in Australia.
2.2 NYLON PACKS:
Only been used on the International market recently, more expensive for now but the best in terms of non-contamination.
Clear film, 200-250 microns, treated with anti-slip and with anti UV rays damage, widely accepted and used by the South American Industry and the European processors, and especially by the growers in Chile, Uruguay and Argentina. (300 million greasy pounds of wool) This material is light, easy to get and is much cheaper.
Australian style balers used for this, but adapted to be able to wrap nylon straps or wire around them, as film will not hold the typical Australian small hooks.
Price likely to be half of any of the other materials above.
UNDER MORE INTERNATIONAL STRINGENT REGULATIONS, PACKING MATERIAL MUST BE FULLY RECYCLABLE, NYLON & CLEAR FILM ARE ACCEPTABLE.
NO SECOND HAND OR RE-USED PACKING MATERIAL IS ALLOWED.
PACK THE WOOL IN BALES.
Directly on the farm, is the best and cheapest way to pack wool. Do the job only once. Saves freight, storage space, handling time.
FOR VERY SMALL FARMERS, INTRODUCE A CLEAR FILM BAG.
If small farmers pack in jute, polypropylene or any other contaminant material, and send their wool to a Warehouse or Pool, repacking does not solve the problem: the contamination has already occurred. Uruguay has successfully introduced a clear film bag, which is used instead of jute. (Now been eliminated)
WAREHOUSES, COOPERATIVES AND POOLS, TO PACK IN CLEAR FILM.
The wool is visible through the film, excess humidity shows up, any un-removed tags-contamination are at sight and it is cheap, practical and easy to buy.
All wool to be sold on a clean basis, by Jan 1, '99. This applies to fleece wool only. (But not limited to) Core only the main line from a farm lot, everything over 5,000 greasy pounds. If the remaining lines are cored too, all the better. But, if lots are too small they may not justify the investment, unless interloted by warehouses. Big lots of pieces or Bellies cored for better accuracy is preferred.
Lambs wool: Same criteria as for P/Bellies. It will be preferred.
THE FOLLOWING RECOMMENDATION IS MADE:
Replace the ASTM-CWFP Yield test method to the standard International "SHLUMBERGER DRY". Estimated Commercial Top & Noil Yield. The entire Wool Trade around the World uses this method.
STANDARDIZE THE CORE TEST TO THE AWTA (AUSTRALIAN WOOL TESTING AUTHORITY) & WTS (WOOL TESTING SERVICES-AUST & UK) USED AND APPROVED 3⁄4’ CUTTER TIP AND WITH A 7/8’ TUBE.
Half an inch tube to be phased out (Not used anywhere else, and yield results differ with the 3⁄4-7/8’ tube.) Two-inch tube phased out slowly as bags decrease.
YOCOM-MCCOLL TESTING REPORTS COMMERCIALLY ACCEPTED:
TEST REPORT: According to the ASTM-IWTO sampling and testing procedures: The sample is provided by the supplier.
TEST CERTIFICATE: Fully certified report, with the same procedure as above, but the sampling is done by an independent authorized sampler/core tester.
Y-McColl Test Informational: Used as guideline for smaller lots only.
IWTO testing method, which is currently commercially approved in the US: Laserscan and Ofda.
LENGTH & STRENGTH:
Length: There is a shared view that common criteria should be defined: This has not been achieved at this point.
Strength: Same as above. It is a less demanding issue, but needs to be worked on.
Action plan: a Committee to be set up after Reno, Jan '98.
This standard would be easily solved changing to the "Schlumberger Dry" yield, with the IWTO V.M. base that is treated in a simpler and more tangible way, instead of the controversial ASTM V.M. greasy basis.
CLASSERS AND SHEARERS:
THERE IS GENERAL CONSENSUS THAT BOTH CLASSERS AND SHEARERS SHOULD BE REGISTERED IN SOME WAY, EVEN IF THE TOOLS TO SET THEM UP ARE NOT SUFFICIENT. IT IS BETTER TO HAVE A COMMON "IMPERFECT" SYSTEM RATHER THAN RISK HAVING SCATTERED INITIATIVES GOING AROUND.
Classers are the people to ensure the Wool Preparation is done properly. The job has to be accounted for.
Growers may be the classers themselves.
Effort must be done to prepare Wool Classers, or people who fully understand the whole concept of Wool Preparation to be achieved. Slowly but surely, the Processing Industry will have to be patient with certain inconsistencies for the first year or so.
Make sure they are all informed about the minimum requirements for proper Wool Preparation. Even if it is difficult to handle. Everybody in the wool loop must know what the goals are.
Classers and shearers may be the most efficient way to induce Wool Bales-Packs: They can carry a press with them, provide all the service.
Action plan, organizing committee, to be defined in RENO, Jan ’98.
CLASSING AND WOOL PREPARATION:
As per ASI code of practice, introducing a few changes to tailor to actual requirements: Wool must be untied.
Stress the use of wool Packs, in bales, and use Polyethylene bags as little as possible. (No jute)
Classing is a must, and Skirting is a practical way that will enhance wool’s value.
This should be implemented by Jan 1, '99.
One of the biggest problems for wool and one of the main reasons for undervalued USA wool.
Place strong emphasis and campaign to ensure awareness of the problem. Especially at the early stage, on the farm.
Big problems come mostly from the smaller lots, but affect the image of the better wools.
ELIMINATION OF CONTAMINATION IS A PERMANENT AND ONGOING OBJECTIVE.
THERE IS CONSENSUS ON THE PRINCIPLE AND OBJECTIVES.
JUTE MUST BE PHASED OUT COMPLETELY BY JANUARY 1, 1999.
ONLY APPROVED PACKING MATERIAL WILL BE ACCEPTED.
BALES ARE NECESSARY TO OPTIMIZE LOGISTICS, LOWER COSTS.
WOOL PREPARATION IS A MUST.
REGISTERED CLASSERS AND SHEARERS ARE KEY FOR RELIABILIITY.
WOOL SOLD ON A CLEAN BASIS.
INTRODUCE THE "SCHLUMBERGER DRY" YIELD METHOD, AS THE REST OF THE WORLD.
MANY OPERATIONAL ISSUES NEED FURTHER WORK: "CONCENTRATE THE EFFORTS ON WHAT CAN BE DONE, AND DO IT FAST. ON MORE COMPLEX ISSUES, START WITH AN IMPERFECT SITUATION AND SLOWLY CORRECT AS WE GO ALONG".
KEEP THINGS SIMPLE.
PRESENT THESE GOALS TO THE STATE LEADERS & AFFILIATED ASSOCIATIONS, FOR APPROVAL IN RENO IN JAN, ’98.
OBTAIN INDUSTRY CONSENSUS.
MAINTAIN JAN 1, ’99 AS A DEADLINE TO HAVE GOALS IMPLEMENTED.
SOME SELECTED WORKING GROUPS SHOULD EMERGE FOR THAT.
WORK DURING ’98 TO DEFINE MECHANICS.
IT IS UP TO ALL OF US TO MAKE THINGS HAPPEN.
Core Team: Doug Lunsford, Burlington Industries; Eric Whittington, Wellman; Gary Dorn, Forte; Tom Runyan, Grower from New Mexico; Bob Padula, Extension-Minnesota; Larry Prager, Center of the Nation Wool; Ronald Pope, Producers Marketing Coop Inc; JD Cook, West Texas Wool and Mohair and Michael O’Byrne, Prouvost USA.