Restoring value of wool industry
The wool price might be in the doldrums, but local producers and the strong-wool industry are still working together to maintain standards and share knowledge as they attempt to restore the value of the natural fibre.
Wright Wool in Waipukurau hosted a field day in CHB last week for wool classers, senior shed hands and pressers, in conjunction with the NZ Wool Classers Association.
Overseen by the association’s executive officer Bruce Abbott, a fine wool classer from the South Island, the day included a tour of Wright’s wool store and dag processing plant before moving to Waipawa’s CHB Municipal Theatre for wool exercises and discussions with industry representatives.
Wright Wool managing director Phillipa Wright said field days were extremely important for the industry as it dealt with falling demand for strong-wool in carpet manufacturing.
Fifteen years ago, 80 per cent of strong-wool produced in New Zealand was used for carpets, but that had now fallen to less than 40 per cent. To combat that, Wright said the industry was investing in innovative uses for wool, which was natural, renewable, biodegradable and sustainable.
“In today’s climate, we believe emphatically that strong-wool will have its day again. There are so many reasons why the consumer should always choose wool. It is sun-safe, flame retardant, non-allergenic, naturally insulating and breathable.
“We are in the midst of incredible innovation for strong wool in areas never seen before — shoes, home and food insulation, bedding, interior design, surf boards, tennis balls, felting, and weed matting,” she said.
The field day attendees examining wool at the CHB Municipal Theatre.