Wool is very important to man’s existence which is why a lot of effort is put into its production. It dates back to 5BC, this makes it one of the oldest agricultural industries all over the world and also in South Africa.
Knowing about the price of this important commodity in South Africa is imperative. We will discuss the different kinds of wool in South Africa and how much they cost. You will also learn a bit of history regarding the production of wool in South Africa.
Prices of Wool in South Africa
There are various forms of wool produced and sold in South Africa. Check the table below to find out the different forms of wool and their prices.
|Giant Yarn Chunky Knit Yarn Wool Yarn Extreme Arm Knitting Colors 1 Kg 2.2 Lbs Chunky Wool Ivory||R1,707.00|
|Inexpensive Light Grey Chunky Yarn Super Bulky Yarn 2KG 4.4LBS Arm Knitting Yarn Chunky Wool Yarn (Merino)||R2,230.00|
|Alpaca Warehouse Blend Alpaca Yarn Wool Set Of 3 Skeins Fingering Weight Steel Blue||R790.00|
|Chunky Yarn Chunky Merino Wool Yarn Super Soft Washable Super Bulky Giant Wool Yarn For Extreme Arm…||R1,865.00|
|Lion Brand Yarn 3 Pack Acrylic & Wool Chunky Yarn For Knitting Crocheting Soft Yarn Bulky 5||R812.00|
|PATONS Classic Wool Yarn – 4 Medium Gauge 100% Wool – 3.5OZ – Gingerbread – For Crochet Knitting||R516.00|
|Lion Brand Yarn 3 Pack Acrylic & Wool Chunky Yarn For Knitting Crocheting Soft Yarn Bulky 5||R875.00|
More details of the above-tabulated wool products can be found here.
Brief History of Wool Production in South Africa
In the year 1789 Cape Town received its first Merino Sheep. Shortly after their arrival, the sheep and wool industry’s commercial operations took off in South Africa. Generally, the largest wool-producing areas in South Africa are Eastern Cape, the Free State, and the Western Cape. However, wool is produced in most parts of South Africa.
The main clip harvested in South Africa is the Merino Clip. This clip is a well classed and quality tape, in fact, it is known all around the world. The wool from the Merino Clip is mainly used for clothing.
More than 90% of the wool clip in South Africa is exported. A large percentage of that (75%), exported unprocessed while the rest 25% exported as washed or processed wool.
High standard classing of the wool, and clip preparation of the greasy wool takes place on the farm.
Shearing, which also means clipping, of the sheep, takes place once in a year and this takes place during the warmer months. Farm owners make appointments with experienced shearers. This allows the group of well-trained shearers to go from farm to farm and shear the clip.
Even shearing competitions and training courses are organized every now and then to improve the skill of the vocation. This also keeps the shearers in top form. To assure you about how lucrative the wool business is in South Africa, the South Africa sports and Olympic Committee recognizes ship shearing as a sport. Shearers also partake in international championships and win medals for their country. It is also important to note that the World Reigning Hand Shearing Champion is a South African.
It is important that the sheep are sheared in one piece. The well-trained fleece throwers make sure that the fleece is evenly late on a table. This is to ensure that grass, seeds, hairy and weathered wool can be spotted and removed.
The wool is then sorted according to the length, quality, and color of the fibers. All other fleeces of the same class go together when there is a sufficient amount of wool of the right class, they are packed into bales. These bales are labeled and shipped to the customers.
In South Africa, each ship produces wool of about 4 kg per year. After shearing and classing, then transported for sample testing and inspection by the wool buyers. This is done before the wool is sold, it has to be tested and certified by the Wool Testing Bureau of South Africa.
These testing procedures are done in accordance with the International Wool Textile Organization. The testing is done in order to ascertain fiber diameter or micron, vegetable matter content.
Wool can be purchased mainly through auction and contracts. Only members of the South African wool and Mohair Buyers Association can partake in this auction. In Port Elizabeth, auctions are held once a week between August and June.
Lots of wool are offered and buyers beat against each other in order to acquire the wool. These acquired lots and now used to make up orders by clients from overseas. The auctions are organized and coordinated by the South African Wool Exchange.
Wool is exported in bales. In order to save shipping space, bales are pressed to high-density. These bales way up to 150 kg. All of the world, all the way to India, China, Germany, Italy, and the Czech Republic, clients receive such bales from South Africa.
Properties of Wool
There is no other fiber that possesses the natural properties of wool. These properties which make it a highly sought-after fiber, include its ability to absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture before it becomes damp. Another property is that wool is healthy, it can insulate against heat and cold, protecting against all of a sudden temperature change of the body.
Wool is water repellent, even though it can absorb moisture. Skills outside of the fiber prevent the liquid from penetrating, causing it to roll off the surface of the fabric.
It does not burn, it is non-flammable, and does not burn freely. It does not melt, this makes it prevents serious brands on the body of the wearer. Wool is versatile and does not easily degrade over a period of time.
Most of all, wool can be recycled. It is also environmentally friendly.
There are so many steps involved in wool processing. These steps include scouring, which is the washing process that allows the removal of dirt, dust, and grease.
- Carding: In this process, the wool is teased apart using rollers that have teeth. This process lasers fibers parallel to each other, to form a soft rope known as a sliver.
- Combine: This process separates short fibers from long ones. It ensures that the long fibers are parallel to each other forming a top.
- Drawing: All the tops are now drawn out into one thick strand. This process ensures evenness and regularity. The wool is then spun into a yarn.
- Spinning: By inserting a twist into the yarn in order to give it strength, the drawn-out sliver of the wool is then spun into a yarn.
- Weaving and knitting: If the purpose of the wool is for trousers, skirts, furniture fabric or jackets, the wool is woven into cloth. Also, the spun yarn can easily go from yarn to cardigan or socks.
- Dyeing: The wool can be dyed to any color at any stage of its processing. Dying the wool at any of the stages will produce colors that last.
In this article, we have shown you the interesting story of wool production in South Africa. We have also presented to you the different production stages and properties of wool. And most of all you now know the prices of wool in South Africa