Make skin quality a priority

Make skin quality a priority

Sheep
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SHEEP producers have been urged by a prominent southern Australian skin buyer to use only a keyhole crutch, minimise shearing cuts, and avoid the use of branding fluid on sale lambs.

SHEEP producers have been urged by a prominent southern Australian skin buyer to use only a keyhole crutch, minimise shearing cuts, and avoid the use of branding fluid on sale lambs.

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PKF Skin Valuations principal Paul Fitzsummons, Adelaide, SA, with mouton made from Australian lambskins for the Russian market.

PKF Skin Valuations principal Paul Fitzsummons, Adelaide, SA, with mouton made from Australian lambskins for the Russian market.

PKF Skin Valuations principal Paul Fitzsummons, Adelaide, SA, sources skins from terminal and maternal lambs for the price sensitive export markets of China, Russia and Turkey.

A guest speaker at the Australian White Suffolk Association conference on February 12-13, Mr Fitzsummons said just 10 per cent of the nation’s daily lamb kill resulted in skins suitable for the dressing, or high quality apparel market.

Mr Fitzsummons said downgraded skin values were often caused by shearing cuts, grass seed damage, tender wool, ribbing, incorrect crutching, and the incorrect use of branding fluid or paint.

He recommended a small keyhole crutch with no shearing over the tail, shearing before lambs were lot fed to avoid “tender’’ wool, and moving stock to cleaner paddocks or shearing before seed set to avoid grass seed contamination.

“Over the last 15 years we have seen a dramatic change in the skins presented to skin companies for purchase,’’ Mr Fitzsummons said.

“Fifteen years ago, no matter what abattoir you went to in Australia to tender on skins, there would be around 35 per cent good dense wool skins of different breed types.

“Today, with reduced numbers of the flock, it’s hard to get good dense wool product for the dressing market.”

Another problem is hide damage from grass seed.

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