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Wool is shorn from live animals like sheep or collected from the skin of slaughtered animals. Most of the wool is shipped along with the grease. Grease is not removed from the wool in order to keep the fine scales so vital for spanning unaffected. Grease is a natural production of these fine scales. When the Grasses dirt and other foreign matters are removed from the wool, we get scoured wool. The loss in weight is about 50 percent.
By breeding through ages, definite wool types of sheep like merinos and Rambouillets, mutton types like lincolns and Shropshines were developed. Of late, a large number of crossbreeds have been developed. Most of the wool raised in New Zealand, Argentina and Uruguay, comes from crossbreed sheep. Merinos laid the basis of wool growing industry in Australia.
Broad divisions of wool
Wools may be divided into two broad categories-
(i) Apparel wool
(ii) Carpet wool i.e. grade wool
Carpet wool is not fit for apparel use. It is coarser and is used in the manufacture of carpets, upholstery etc. About 23 percent of world's commercial wool clip is considered carpet wool-60 percent coming from Asia and 40 percent from south America.
More than 34 percent of total raw wool production came from Memos and more than 40 percent came from crossbreeds
Conditions of production of wool. Abundant supply of cheap land are essential for the successful raising of wool. Semi-arid lands are best suited to sheep farming and drier portions are utilized for wool sheep. As the sheep can subsist on coarse feed not taken by other domestic animals they are reared in areas which are too dry, mostly barren or too mountainous and not fit for agriculture, wool sheep are reared in the dry warm temperate type of climate having 20°C to 25°C temperature and 25 to 50 cm of rainfall annually. Marshy lands and moist climate are unsuitable for sheep rearing as they are affected by diseases.
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