Written by Diana Annette N. Gonzales

Wool is one of the highly marketed by-products in which sheep is best known for. It is broadly used in clothing, knitwear, upholstery, tennis ball, pool cover, etc. Wool is harvested from the sheep once or twice a year depending on the breed, usually before the onset of summer. Wool harvesting requires experience in order to prevent stressing the animal and avoid inflicting wounds and injuries to the sheep as it may result to severe infection which may sooner or later lead to death.

Towards this end, a three-day shearing operation was done on March 1-3, 2017 at San Francisco, Quezon (one of the selected farm areas apart from the one situated in Rosario, Batangas), headed by Mr. Wilmer S. Faylon, Organic Agriculture Research and Development Center (OARDC) Chief, and Jessa Mae G. Galera and Diana Annette N. Gonzales, research assistants. This is part of the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR) project entitled “Performance Testing and Technology Commercialization of Sheep Meat and Fiber Production under CALABARZON Condition” which started on December 2015 and is until December 2017. Some 36 heads of sheep underwent fleece trimming using electronic wool clipper. This trimming device is more efficient, faster and less laborious compared to manual cutting with the use of scissors.

The harvested wool will be subjected to several processes such as skirting or the removal of unnecessary elements, washing of fleece, carding, spinning and dyeing. As wool is a perishable product, it must be stored appropriately under dry condition, free from moisture, dust and other undesirable elements in order to preserve and maintain the quality of wool.

According to Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS), the country has a sheep population of 49,747, of which 1,823 or 3.67% can be found in CALABARZON.