14 Jul 2011

Quality assurance programme for shearers

12:47 pm on 14 July 2011

A decline in wool preparation standards is concerning the Shearing Contractors' Association.

It's using financial backing from Beef + Lamb New Zealand to develop a quality assurance programme that shearing operators will be accredited to.

Contractor Mavis Mullins of Paewai Mullins in Dannevirke says the quality issue has arisen because farmers put pressure on shearing operators to reduce costs during the years of low wool returns, by cutting back on wool handlers.

And the result has been slipping standards in wool preparation.

A dramatic recovery in wool prices in the past year has also put a new focus on wool quality and preparation standards.

The Shearing Contractors Association says the quality assurance programme will play a part in adding value to wool.

Chairman Barry Pullen says that at the end of three years, the association wants to have about half the country's sheep flock shorn by operators accredited to the quality assurance programme.