27 October 2021
Harper Adams staff, including Interim Vice-Chancellor Michael Lee, bedecked themselves with their favourite woollen items to show their support for The Campaign for Wool’s Love Wool Month.
Two ewes from the University’s flock of Lleyn sheep also made an appearance at the celebration, alongside two fleeces from senior lecturer Malgorzata Behnke’s own flock of longwool sheep.
Animal Production & Health Lecturer, Nicky Naylor, explains how wool has woven itself into the life of Britain over the centuries:
“Wool is such a valuable product to the sheep; providing warmth in the harsher climates of the hills and uplands as well as a waterproofing layer with the natural presence of lanolin. For centuries, wool has been removed by shearing at least once a year to reduce heat stress and prevent blowfly strike in the sheep, and also provide vital material for humans.”
“In the Middle Ages wool was the backbone of the English economy with sheep producers selling their raw wool abroad, with weavers and cloth makers paying top prices for English wool. Landowners and farmers thorough the British Isles reaped large profits from sheep production, with some land being turned over from arable production to allow for larger sheep flocks.”
“Skip forward to the 21st century and wool price is rock bottom, it is now costing the farmer more to shear the sheep than the value of the fleece itself!”
“There are currently 60 purebred sheep breeds in the UK, with numerous crossbreds producing wool as a by-product. Some breeds of sheep, such as the Wiltshire horn, have been selectively bred for their wool shedding gene, reducing the need for shearing, however, the majority of UK sheep still require shearing at some point during the year.”
“Wool is a sustainable and naturally occurring by-product so let’s support the campaign for wool and bring back the value of wool to British farmers!”