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Skirting, classing and selling your mohair
Clip preparation starts with the previous shearing. Timing of shearing is important. In areas where there are significant weeds which can contaminate the fleece, shearing just before the seeds become a danger is important. Remember there is also a seasonal moult in late August which can make some animals difficult to shear. Shearing later in September or October can result in cotted (matted) fleeces from fibre which has shed from the skin and moved through the fleece. Good feed conditions may accentuate this problem. Since fleece length is important it is necessary to shear every 6 months. Young animals grow longer fleece and kids can be shorn first even if they have only 5 months growth. Adults usually need the full 6 months to reach “C” length (10 to 12.5cm) which is the most common sale length. Fibre which is between 13 and 16cm is classed as “B length. The fleeces must be skirted. This means removing stains, short pieces and vegetable faulted pieces. Many animal have a strong neck and this fibre also needs to be removed from the main fleece. Each type goes into a different line. ie. LOX (dark stains), STN, D (7-10cm), V (vegetable faulted) and a fleece line 1 or 2 grades stronger, respectively. You need to work quickly because you have to keep up with the shearer(s). Heavy vegetable fault over about 5% is of little or no value since the process of Carbonising is expensive and destroys the lustre of the mohair. Classing. This required you to place the skirted fleece into a particular fineness and length line. Age is an important factor and you could do worse than just put each age group together. However, visual fineness can be used to split an age group into 2 lines – finer and broader. Resist the temptation to class more lines, and to put mohair from different age groups together even if they look the same. Testing has demonstrated that such efforts do not improve the overall measured fineness of lines and may actually result in some lines being broader than you expect. Your Broker will assess fineness when he places your fibre in a sale category. The photos demonstrate the increasing crimp size from Fine Kid through Young Goat to Fine Hair. While not an absolutely accurate figure these three types average 24, 31 and 35 microns in fibre diameter. First shearing usually goes into Fine Fine Kid (FFKID). Second Shearing usually goes to Fine Kid (FKID) and Kid (KID), Third shearing can go into Kid (KID) and Young Goat (YG). Later shearings are usually Fine Fine Hair(FFH) and Fine Hair (FH). While some adult fleeces look finer, testing usually places these fleeces in the FFH type rather than the YG. On particular properties with particular nutrition and breeding, fleece may be finer, or stronger, than these guidelines. Older does, older wethers and Bucks may produce very strong fibre classified as Hair (H) and aged does may produce kempy and poorly structured fleeces which are placed in the FHKK line. Kemp and poor styled mohair. Kemp is the chalky white, pointed fibre sometimes seen in mohair, especially as the animals age. This fibre is placed in the (K) line eg CFFH(K). Under poor feed conditions mohair fleeces can be cross fibred and “mushy”. Such fleeces usually go into a “second style” line (eg CFFH2) or are placed in the (K) lines. Pressing. Efficient transport requires pressed bales. Bale weights of about 200kg are required. Use new wool packs, writing only on one flap. Place the largest line on the bottom and separate lines with news paper. Keep a record of all lines in the bale and indicate what each line is both on the news paper and on the flap. Great care is need to ensure no foreign matter is pressed with your mohair. Small clips can be bagged and placed in a wool pack for delivery but don’t expect commercial carriers to handle such unpressed bales. You might seek co-operation with other growers to bulk clips together in pressed bales. Delivery. Brokers usually have a number of collection centres and can arrange delivery but the responsibility is up to you. Try to dispatch your mohair as soon as possible after shearing to allow time for the Broker to process your clip. Brokers There is now only one mohair Broker in Australia – Australian Mohair Marketing Organisation (at Narrandera). AMMO has 2 to 3 auction sales per year. Fibre can be delivered to receival centres or sent to Narrandera for classing using a standard set of types. Buyers. At present there are four. From time to time other buyers become active and purchase small amounts of fibre. Several of the Buyers will purchase fibre direct from growers by private treaty but you usually have to deliver the fibre to them and accept their offer.
Please go to the Australian Mohair Marketing Organisation (AMMO) website or for International mohair sales go to House of Fibre trusted mohair & wool brokers or BKB group or OVK wool and mohair brokers based in South Africa.