Tuesday, December 09, 2008

"Sheep geek" post

Remember this? Since Braveheart was getting tufty all over from Russell's "ministrations" and getting snagged running the fence, I decided to send in fleece samples for testing now. I pulled loose locks from three different spots and sent them in to Texas A&M's AgriLife Research lab. Their turn-around was very fast, and I had the report back sometime over the weekend. (I plan to send in a mid-side sample from Braveheart along with mid-side samples from the rest of my flock at shearing time next spring.)

The results (with many thanks to Garrett for helping me translate the abbreviations) were both what I expected and not. Braveheart has always looked very consistent from end to end and top to bottom; he also feels very nice to my hand. I didn't think he was superfine, but I WAS hoping for a lower average micron count than the test revealed. Anyway, without further ado, below are the results for my 1 1/2-year-old ram, Valiant Braveheart:
Neck: 28.9 AFD, 5.4 SD, 18.9 CV, 64.4 CF%, 27.6 SF, 95 SL, 55.3 CRV
Low shoulder (just above elbow): 31.7 AFD, 6.2 SD, 19.4 CV, 41.2 CF%, 30.5 SF, 100 SL, 48.4 CRV
Low side (almost into belly wool): 30.7 AFD, 6.4 SD, 20.7 CF, 48.2 CF%, 29.8 SF, 100 SL, 51.6 CRV
(There are other figures, but these seem to contain the most information.)

For those who may be interested but who, like me until today, are fairly clueless as to the abbreviations, here's the explanation:
AFD=average fiber diameter (measured in microns)
SD= standard deviation
CV=coefficient of variation (the lower the CV, the more consistent the animal)
CF%=comfort factor percentage (the higher the better)
SF=spin fineness (what it will feel like when you are spinning it, in microns)
SL=relaxed staple length (in mms)
CRV=curvature (higher number means more crimp)

I hope other sheep geeks will let me know what they think of these results!

That's it for now from . . .


Becky Utecht said...

Thanks for sharing Braveheart's micron test results - even though they weren't quite what you were expecting. It will be interesting to see what your flock average is in the spring.
Just to flesh out the Comfort factor percentage (CF%) definition, CF% is the percentage of fibers equal to or under 30 microns. So, like you said, the higher the number there, the better. :-)

Sharrie said...

I still have to get going on that "micron thing". I wonder when I will get around to that. I will need "mega" help to translate numbers like you showed.

shadow mountain jacobs farm said...

Yes, the micron testing can be confusing. I took my rams fleece sample to OFFF with me and had it done right there for only $2.50. The guy takes about half an hour to finish with a full report. My Jacob ram tested fairly well and his AFD was 27. Next year I will take all the rest of the samples with me.

A :-) said...

So, let's see if I paid attention in class: higher micron count means softer fleece, as does more curvature (crimp). Right?

Michelle said...

Nope, the higher the micron number the coarser the fleece. I'm surprised Braveheart is as high as he is, because he FEELS soft, even again my neck. I do like his consistency, though, and he has a very nice staple length for a single-coated fleece. Mary, you should check into Texas A&M. They only charge $1.25 a sample, and you get a very detailed report that includes histograms.

Shula said...

Oh that sounds interesting. Can you tell me more about sending samples in? I would like to get my flock tested in spring maybe. It would be nice to know.

Michelle said...

For everyone who is interested in where I sent my fleece samples for testing, the address is below. This is connected with Texas A&M, and they only charge $1.25 per sample.

Christopher J Lupton, Professor
Wool and Mohair Research Lab
Texas AgriLite Research & Extension Center
7007 US Highway 87 N
San Angelo, TX 76901-9714

The size sample and pertinent information that you will need to include with each sample can be found at the YoCom-McColl website:

I put each sample in a sandwich baggie and wrote the info on a self-adhesive label stuck to each baggie.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting the info on where to contact etc. for fleece samples. I am interested in doing some of my jacobs as well... It would be a good thing to know so I can tell people buying sheep from me! :D

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the info. for Texas A&M. I have a couple samples sitting here, but wasn't wanting to pay the $7.50 that YoCom charges - YAY!!! I have found that with my sheep I have a couple that are very soft to the touch, but have higher micron counts.