Meet our Dynamic Duo Young Farming Champions Lucy Collingridge (L) and Deanna Johnston (R) who will be coordinating our Amazing Wool Workshops at Sydney Royal Easter Show Primary School Preview Day
Lucy is a self confessed townie finding her way into agriculture after spending January school holidays visiting family on their farm in the Central West of NSW when she was 15. Lucy now works as a biosecurity officer with Local Land Services.
Deanna grew up on her family farm 6.5 hours west of Sydney. Her earliest memories are of the shearing shed and she had already completed her Certificate IV in Woolclassing and Certificate II in Shearing by the time she was 16. Deanna loves sharing her love of wool with everyone who will listen and found the perfect job doing shearing demonstrations at Nogo Station as part of the Outback Pioneers tourism experience
Lucy and Deanna will offer the students plenty of opportunities to learn about wool, play with wool and even learn how to class wool.
If your want to be a wool classer like Deanna this is what she will share with you
- Wool has to be a certain length, between 60mm and 100mm. if the wool is shorter or longer than that farmers are charged a penalty when they sell their wool. The reason for this is wool processors have set their machines up to process wool between 60 and 100mm long. If the wool is longer or shorter then they have to recalibrate their machines to process the wool.
- To measure the wool, wool classers use their finger as a ruler. Each wool classer will know how long his/her finger is. This is so you don’t have to carry a ruler around with you in your pocket and measuring the wool against your finger is quick and easy. Do you know how long your finger is? Well you might need to know when you become a wool classer!
- Another test the wool classer will do to ensure the quality of wool is high is a strength test. You hold the top of the staple (a clump of wool fibres) and hold the bottom of the staple and pull it. If it doesn’t break the quality is high. If the wool breaks it means that the animal may have undergone some sort of stress and put more energy into recovering from the stress than growing wool.
- The wool classer feels the wool by running the wool between their fingers. This is to feel how soft the wool is. Softness of the wool is an indicator of how fine the wool is. The finer the wool the more suitable the wool is for clothing. If the wool feels less soft, the wool will be better suited to jackets, and maybe even carpets and curtains. Have you ever worn an itchy woollen garment? Well that’s probably because that garment wasn’t made from fine Merino wool, it was made out of broader wool.
- The last thing a wool classer does is look at the colour of the wool. The wool should be a bright white colour. The small discolouration is just dirt and can be washed out. We want to eliminate is wool that is black and brown. Wool can only be dyed darker than the colour it is and there is no colour darker than black so black wool cannot be used in commercial processing. The way the black fibres are formed they don’t soak up as much dye so that’s another reason why we want white wool. White wool can be dyed to whatever colour.
Deanna and Lucy are looking forward to the students telling everybody how much fun they had learning about Amazing Wool
Its clear that Deanna thinks the wool industry is a great place to be