A UK-based fabric manufacturer buying increasing amounts of New Zealand lambs' wool is asking farmers and others in the supply chain to clean up their product, by taking more care to remove thistles and other vegetable matter before it's shipped.
Camira Fabrics is using the lamb's wool in a hard wearing upholstery fabric called Blazer made especially for office furniture.
Contamination from plant material found in one particular container sent the supplier development manager, John Quarmby, to New Zealand earlier this year to talk to growers and others handling the wool to get the message across about removing the unwanted bits of plant material.
He says thistle, for example, is very difficult to remove once the yarn starts to be processed and carded which is why the company is putting the emphasis back on the grower.
Mr Quarmby says they have not rejected any wool, but there have been a lot of costs which the company has had to pass back.
He says Camira Fabric's orders of New Zealand lamb's wool have grown from an initial four containers to 14 containers this year and he expects that to keep rising.