Better shearing

Merino wool is usually shorn when it has a good length, after 8 to 12 months of growth.

The fleece ready for skirting, with some of the lines visible in the background.
Photo: Roelof Bezuidenhout

However, selecting for length in your flock’s fleeces can reduce the inter-shearing period and result in improved cash flow as you can then comfortably sell three clips every two years. Here are some tips for a better, cleaner clip that brings in more money:


Use experienced shearers who shear evenly and without cutting the sheep’s skin.

  • The nearer you are to shearing time, the less chemicals should be used on the flock and the more care should be taken to keep their fleeces clean of dust, seed or stains from vegetation.
  • Do not run pure Merinos with cross-bred or hairy type sheep that could contaminate the wool.
  • Never mark your sheep with paint.
  • Sort the flock into age classes well before shearing and shear different ages and wool lengths separately.
  • Clean out the shearing shed before shearing starts, making sure nothing is left behind that could contaminate the clip.
  • Watch the weather. Never shear wet wool – not even wool that feels damp. Let sheep dry out well after rain.
  • When marking bales, make sure the marking ink doesn’t seep through and stain the wool inside.
  • Store the bales in a safe, dry place and send them off to your broker as soon as possible.