Once the wool is shorn the wool bales are shipped to a warehouse. At the warehouse, the wool bales from a single property are grouped into sale lots of similar types.
Core samples are taken from each bale to ensure test results represent all the types in the sale lot. Samples are tested for fibre diameter (micron), vegetable matter, staple strength, length and colour.
A pre-sale certificate is issued that lists all the results from the testing and stays with the sale lot right through to processing.
Every wool bale offered on auction is tested to confirm the wool’s quality and characteristics. Testing is performed with a grab sample, a sample of the wool taken from the centre of the bale.
Wool is a natural fibre and each batch will vary largely in length, colour, fineness and content.
Wool Test Certificates
Most bales of wool will be offered to prospective buyers with an IWTO test certificate. The IWTO test certificate is the “gold standard” in the industry.
IWTO maintains the standards for wool testing across the industry. Testing specifications and regulations are updated annually in the IWTO Red Book and White Book. Visit the Wool Testing Resources page for more details.
Wool-testing laboratories are audited annually and must conform to the international standards set by their local standardisation bod, in order to be licensed by IWTO to issue IWTO certificates. To learn more about wool testing and to find one of IWTO’s licensed laboratories, visit iwto.org/about-iwto/licensed-laboratories/
How Wool is Sold
Most of the world’s wool is sold by auction. Auctions generally take place every week.
Here the price per kilo is determined based on demand, quality and volume on offer.
Once sold, the wool begins its journey to becoming fabric.