Record-high cotton prices have pulled the price of wool higher, said Brian Greaves, a Miniota-area sheep producer and local director of the Canadian Co-operative Wool Growers.
Good-quality fine wool has doubled in value to $1.50 per pound, up from about 75 cents last year, he said.
But the so-called “domestic” wool commonly shorn from Manitoba sheep such as Suffolk has only climbed about 10 cents per pound to around 40 cents.
Due to low prices, most sheep producers have neglected wool in their breeding programs in favour of meatier lambs, said Greaves.
That means most sheep only yield about five pounds of wool per head, and because it is coarse, it barely covers the cost of shearing.
Greaves raises high-fertility Polypay ewes with a dual-purpose Coredale ram, which gives him a good, heavy lamb with a finer, heavier coat of about 10 pounds per head.
“I’ve got double the wool at three times the value, and I’m still producing lambs of as good quality as the others,” he said.
Wool is very hereditary, he added. By buying a “wool” ram such as Rambouillet, wool weights and quality can be boosted immediately without sacrificing meat production. [email protected]