Special Farm Report - The Herd Scheme


THE WOOL INDUSTRY.

A SOUTH CANTERBURY FARMER IS LEADING THE WAY.

The wool industry is facing a head wind. Prices are soft and demand is down. The could change when farmers start measuring wool with a precision that until recently was unattainable. This is the story of one mans challenge to the industry he loves.

Left - Eugene O'Sullivan, founder of FibreScan, and a selection of the wool farmers

Left - Eugene O'Sullivan, founder of FibreScan, and a selection of the wool farmers

Eugene O'Sullivan imagined how you could change wool farming if you measure fineness, crimp and curvature with a precision not otherwise available.  Farmers were growing wool by bulk and returns had plummeted.

Something had to be done and so he set out to build the most precise measurement tool of its type in the world. 

The FibreScan takes 200,000 measurements in 15 seconds, scanning the whole length of the fibre.

By accurately measuring the characteristics of their wool, farmers can put it into lines suitable to manufacturers.

The investment has been hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the equipment  and software has been designed by the talented engineers at Intranel Ltd in Christchurch.  An angel investor, Michael Mellon also made an important difference.

Through my late father, Thomas, the practice has had a long involvement with this project, and I was given the opportunity to step into his place.

Recently at the Southburn Hall, on the Pareora River Road, farmers gathered to hear a presentation from Eugene,  Romney grower Hugh Taylor and Lincoln University geneticist Jon Hickford.

New Zealand wool farmers, now have  opportunity to make a difference to their future.  By measuring wool precisely. farmers can make changes to breeding and selection, and year by year,  step after step, return high profits to their farms.

Lincoln University geneticist Jon Hickford. and FibreScan technician Donny Morrison

Lincoln University geneticist Jon Hickford. and FibreScan technician Donny Morrison

FiberScan - the most advanced fibre measurement system in the world

FiberScan - the most advanced fibre measurement system in the world

The dark lines are the wool, and green lines are where the software has identified a clear length of fibre to measure

The dark lines are the wool, and green lines are where the software has identified a clear length of fibre to measure