Wool has traditionally been a significant contributor to New Zealand’s economy, but has slowly been in decline due mainly to poor returns to growers, and increased competition for land use from forestry and latterly dairy. The majority of sheep farmed produce coarse diameter fibre for which the main use is in floor coverings – broadloom carpets and rugs. Synthetic fibres have closed the functional performance advantages that wool previously held, so carpet manufacturers are able (and do) resist wool price pressure by simply substituting with alternative synthetic alternatives.
The Lincoln Agritech New Materials Group is the lead research provider to the New Uses for Wool Partnership Programme, a joint funding arrangement between the New Zealand Government and Wool Industry Research Ltd, a body representing the research interests of the post harvest New Zealand wool sector. The Partnership Programme is wholly structured to generate transformational, high value and high volume opportunities for the coarse wool based industry.
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