Could this signal a brighter future for strong wool and the sheep industry?:
One of the world’s largest producers of synthetic fabrics is coming to the aid of the ailing strong-wool industry.
DuPont, the 216-year-old global agricultural and industrial chemical business, and Wools of New Zealand are collaborating to develop a new, eco-friendly, wool-blend home textile yarn.
Wool ticks a lot of the boxes environmentally concerned customers care about.
It’s a natural, renewable product and in New Zealand comes from free-range sheep.
Contrary to what radical anti-farming activists try to say, wool is shorn from live animals which are treated well in the process.
The new yarn is scheduled to be released later this year or early next, prompting a “cautiously optimistic” Wools of NZ chief executive Rosstan Mazey to predict the industry could be on the cusp of significant change.
DuPont’s involvement provided product development and marketing horsepower Mazey said has been missing from the wool industry.
Initial work is under way developing what he called a super fibre for high-end carpets, which means finding the optimum blend of wool and bio-synthetic fibres.
Other super fibre products for apparel and upholstery could follow.
DuPont also has links, distribution networks and access to retailers throughout the world on a scale not available to NZ wool exporters.
“The exciting thing for us and for our growers is that this is very much a starting point and who knows where it will end.”
Mazey said if successful, the super fibre could use significant volumes of strong crossbred wool.
“It could take on a significant portion of the strong wool clip.
“It is too early to say how much but it is exciting that it could take meaningful volumes that would lift demand for the overall clip.”
DuPont’s global segment leader John Sagrati said it will allow the creation of a sustainable, eco-friendly yarn with enduring performance.
“Bringing together world-leading source traceability and patented technology from Wools of NZ with DuPont’s global leadership in bio-sustainable, high-performance materials inspired this collaboration of expertise and products scheduled for release in 2018.” . .
Strong wool has struggled against synthetic competitors.
But it is kinder on the environment and its flame retardant properties make it safer for furnishing too.
The aim is to produce a fibre for high-end carpets where cost is less of a concern and that could signal a resurgence in fortunes for strong wool and the farmers who produce it.