Producers with sheep in bushfire zones have been told charcoal contamination can be removed from wool during scouring.
Speaking on a webinar organised by Sheep Connect NSW, Fional Raleigh, AWEX's registrar, said charcoal-contaminated wool should be kept separate from wool unaffected by the fires but there was need for any special identification on bales.
Ms Raleigh, a former wool classer and classer trainer who is based in Cootamundra, NSW, said producers hit by bushfires were likely to have wool that was unaffected, wool that was burnt and discoloured and wool contaminated with charcoal.
If possible, sheep from all three categories should be drafted into separate mobs for shearing with the unaffected sheep shorn first.
While shearing at the first opportunity would get rid of fire-caused faults in a sheep's fleece, growers needed to make decisions based on the best welfare outcomes for their animals.
Classers should know the history of the sheep before the start of shearing and whether the sheep had been fire-affected or just run on burnt country, she said.
While wool from fire-affected properties would have to be classed into more lines than normal she said classers should avoid "over fragmenting" the clip.
Their aim should be getting the best result for growers who were already under enough stress.
Charcoal contamination was likely to be an ongoing problem for a while because sheep would rub on burnt trees and fence posts, she said.
While there was no need for special identification of charcoal-contaminated or fire-damaged and discoloured wool on bales, this information needed to be clearly outlined in documents sent to selling brokers, she said.
No fire-affected wool had yet come on the market.
Ms Raleigh said growers and classers needing more technical information should contact AWEX.
The story Bushfire hit sheep producers told charcoal can be removed by scouring first appeared on Farm Online.