A LINE of high-strength but soft to touch 70Nk/t wool was the highlight of a six-month pre-Easter shearing for Three Springs woolgrower Anthony Thomas.
The declared non-mulesed 19.7 micron fleece with 63 millimetre staple length, 67.4 per cent yield and a comfort factor of 99.2 per cent was sold to Italian-based wool top specialist Schneider Wools at the Western Wool Centre last Thursday for 1320 cents a kilogram greasy.
Schneider also took Mr Thomas' other two fleece lines of 19 and 19.2 micron wools with 61 and 64mm staples lengths, 62.1 and 65.1pc yields, strengths of 62 and 64N/kt and a comfort factor for both of 99.6pc.
Top price paid for the longer wool was 1370c/kg
Two shorter lines of 19.7 and 18.9mm fleece were sold earlier in the oddments section because at under 60mm staple length no results were recorded for a number of the usual tests, the critically one being no strength rating.
Primaries of WA wool manager Greg Tilbrook explained the high strength and bold crimp of Mr Thomas' wools were the attraction for buyers looking to average lesser quality tender wools in a consignment.
"I've never actually sold a 70N/kt fleece before," Mr Tilbrook said.
"Everyone says 70N/kt, that's going to be like barbed wire, but it's not.
"It's still got the soft handling to it and that softness comes down to breeding."
Mr Tilbrook said the bold crimp also meant the wool processed longer than its relaxed staple length measure indicated.
Mr Thomas said he had been using Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs) for "at least 10 years now" to produce a large, wrinkle-free plain bodied Multi-Purpose Merino (MPM) in the soft-rolling-skin (SRS) style.
Mr Tilbrook said for shorter wools from six-month shearings this added potential value.
"The resistance to compression with these bold crimp MPM and SRS-style wools is better than a traditional Peppin Merino," he said.
"If you squash it (wool) up, it'll spring back.
"It will process longer in the top because you've got more wool in the crimp.
"Once you get to a 68-70mm processing length you open up two markets, the fleece guys will buy shorter, stronger wools to average and the wool top buyers will also chase it for the next-to-the-skin market."
Mr Thomas pointed out no skin wrinkles meant fibres in his wool were more aligned, which also aided processing and had the added benefit of helping combat fly strike in the paddock.
"The fibres are aligned, there's no criss-cross because there's no wrinkle - with criss-crossed fibres is when you get problems with flies because it (wool) can't dry out," he said.
Principal of Hill Padua Poll Merinos, Mr Thomas said the six-month shearing of his 2700 adult ewes three days before Easter had produced 34 bales of wool.
"We're getting just over 10mm (of wool growth) a month and for a few of those months they're (ewes) carrying a lamb," he said.
"We'll shear all the lambs in a couple of weeks and then again in six month's time too."
Although there had been no rain so far this year, the season was going well, he said.
"While no rain is no good for soil moisture or growing a crop, it's been good for the feed, it hasn't spoiled the feed, our dry feed has been fantastic and, most important, we've still got some."