Branding leaves a mark

20 Apr, 2005 08:45 PM
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WHILE dark and medullated fibres have always been a cause for concern to the quality of the Australian woolclip, branding products used by farmers and poor clip preparation are also issues needing attention.

Tianyu Wool industry vice general engineer Jianping Fu said that in the past, wool marked by branding had not been a problem for the Zhangjiagang-based Chinese mill.

But recently it was found that the ink was not scouring out completely and therefore affecting the Australian wool clip.

Mr Fu believed the formula of the branding product had changed because the scouring process was the same.

Blobs of branding fluid are the mill's main concern because the thickness don't scour out completely, while generally the thinner layers of the marking will.

While the WA woolgrowers on the West Coast Wools China Wool Mission said they did not use branding on their properties, they voiced concern that it was happening and ultimately affecting the market price of Australian wool.

The growers witnessed it first-hand at Tianyu, when finished scoured product pieces of wool with visible signs of wool branding still on the fibres had to be separated from the rest.

The growers, in an informal discussion, said the companies producing the brand must be held accountable.

"If the product worked previously and is not now, why has the product been changed and if the company is making claims that it's scourable and it is not doing this, then they should be held responsible," they said.

They also determined that they could help by using ear tags on their sheep or marked them on the head or nose rather than the back.

Mr Fu said poor fleece preparation was a concern that was affecting Australia's wool clip reputation.

Certain industry sectors are advocating a low skirting ratio of fleece to pieces, while a rise has also been seen in Autumn clips having large clumps of seed still attached.

These make the wool hard to comb for wool tops and is resulting in a reduced market price.

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