Wool is one of Australia’s most important agricultural exports, with more than $2.5b worth of wool exported in the 2019/20 financial year. Australia produces about 284,000t of greasy wool each year, from 70m sheep, about 25% of the fibre’s world market.
Australia has had a long association with producing quality Merino wool. A natural product grown all year round, free-range merino sheep are synonymous with the Australian landscape.
Why is wool a good product?
Wool is a completely natural product, hypoallergenic and long lasting. The product feels good, is fire resistant and insulates against heat and cold. The product is naturally elastic, wears longer, is versatile, resists static, insulates against noise, resists dirt, is easy to sew, is comfortable and dyes beautifully. With advances in technology and genetics, wool is now comfortable next to the skin and is increasingly being used in active wear.
Although wool garments appear to be more expensive than other clothes, they have a long life cycle, are more durable and require less laundering at lower temperatures, they are highly recyclable and completely biodegradable at the end if their life.
Wool is good for the environment, being part of the natural carbon cycle: over half the weight of wool is pure organic carbon.
The McBride family have been producing wool in Australia since 1859 and it is the primary product produced by AJ & PA McBride Ltd. The company shears in excess of 300,000 sheep and lambs, producing more than 1.4 million kilograms each year – in the top five producers in Australia.
AJ & PA McBride are unashamedly proud producers of merino wool – famed for its high quality product. In the pastoral northern districts of South Australia, the company produces medium wool of 20-21 microns, about a quarter the width of a human hair. This wool is used in knitwear. On the south eastern properties, finer wool of 17-19 micron is produced which is used in next-to-skin wear and suits.
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