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YFCU AERA Committee attend Ulster Wool Board

On Tuesday the 9th of January Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster (YFCU) Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs committee (AERA) attended the Ulster Wool Board, last year the Ulster Wool Board received and graded 1.7 million tonnes of wool.


The committee received a presentation on the work which the Ulster Wool Board carries out, learning how the co-operative supports their farmers. The committee learnt about the global wool trade, and wool auctions, 20 of which happen annually. The presentation also focused on the price of wool and the effect which the Covid pandemic had on market value of wool. Jayne also spoke on the handling and production costs of wool; this allowed the committee to better understand why the price of wool is so volatile.


The committee then had the opportunity to view the wool board’s facilities. The committee learnt about wool grading, once the wool has been delivered, every fleece is individually assessed, which determines the grade and quality. Grading every fleece adds value for producers as this separates the better-quality wool from the poorer. Our members had the opportunity to view different fleeces from different sheep to better understand which wool belongs in which grade. The committee also learnt about wool testing, all wool is independently tested for micron, colour, and dry yield before it can be sold at auction. Testing the wool to international standards gives buyers confidence in the high quality of Ulster wool.


YFCU runs a shearing and wool handling course with Ulster Wool, as the approved training provider for shearing and wool handling courses, Ulster Wool has a training programme in place to support the next generation of shearers and wool handlers in learning and developing a vital traditional rural skill. YFCU members can benefit from 50% off Ulster Wool Shearing Courses for the duration of their membership. This offer includes participation in both machine and blade shearing courses. These courses will be over two days, covering all the essential aspects of achieving a successful shearing season including the use of shearing equipment and hands-on shearing practice to develop your technique. The committee further discussed this course and suggested ways to increase its promotion and participation.


The committee would like to thank the Ulster Wool Board for kindly welcoming the committee and to Jayne Harkness-Bones and Stephen Wilson for giving up their time to take us on the tour of the facilities.

Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs Committee on their visit to the Ulster Wool Board.

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