African Wools

Splendid wools are now being produced in the Cape and Natal. For many years it had been recognised that the climate was very suited to the growth of high-class merino wool and the development of good types is a result of the building up from judicial infusion of better known merino types, and with the support of the South African Government, great progress has been effected. Formerly, much of the Cape merino was shorn twice yearly, and, in fact, shearing was often a matter of degree, according to the circumstance of the grower. Thus, we frequently saw designations as "4 months", "6 months", "8 to 10 months", "10 to 12 months", "12 months", and even "14 months". But of late years this early shearing is diminishing, and thus more valuable combing wools are reaching the world centres. Formerly, much of the Cape merino was unattractive, and low yielding, making it difficult of estimation. Today, we often see magnificent 64/70's warp wools and a yield of 15 per cent to 20 per cent higher than formerly. The bulk of the Cape wools are beautifully fine, soft, and of a very white colour, and the noils from these wools also have a higher value than from most other merino wools. The production has also increased materially within recent years, and the South African contribution is now a valuable one to U.S.A., Great Britain, the Continent and Japan. East African wools are still in their infancy as regards character and amount. But the climate seems to be suitable for crossbred production, and of late years importation of good breeds for crossing and improving the native types lend support to the belief in the future of East Africa as a wool-producing area.

Dictionary of the English textile terms. 2014.

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