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"Wool waste"?

Posted by rouge21 4 (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 7, 13 at 16:19

I have read a snippet or two that wool waste which is one of the farm wastes of sheep farmers is a particularly good compost material which can be added to a composter or used directly in the garden as part of a mulch. Have other GW members used this material in their garden?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: "Wool waste"?

Never have used wool waste which could be used in compost except for the natural, protective, oils that wool would have. there are a few sheep farmers around here but they do not seem to have any wool waste.

RE: "Wool waste"?

I haven't used it either, but I've heard of similar materials being used as fertilizer. Such as tannery waste, which is flesh and hair scraped from the hides before they're turned into leather. The protein content gives it a pretty good N value. kimmsr has a good point about the oils - the stuff may not break down very fast, but it could be faster in a composting situation just because of the intense microbial activity. No doubt someone has done research on it, somewhere.

Just make sure you have adequate browns or it will stink to high heaven.

RE: "Wool waste"?

  • Posted by batya Israel north 8-9-10 (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 13, 13 at 2:32

As a knitter, I often use pure wool to make felted items. I can tell you that pure wool doesn't compost fast at all. Bits of yarn here and there, sure; larger stuff that was knit, but mistakes or not salvageable, no. They take forever and the only times I tried it, I ended up just pulling the nasty mess out and tossing it.

Just my 2 cents, but the spinners, dyers, etc who use locally raised wool straight from the farms would know best just what are the uses and advantages/disadvantages of this stuff. I'm not sure if the waste would be considered a fiber, but if so, those people are the ones who are the experts, not the farmers themselves.

RE: "Wool waste"?

When sheep are shorn, much of the coat us too nasty/matted to spin into wool. The next step in fiber prep, after sheering is "skirting" the fleeces -- removing the unsuitable wool.

Shepherds I've met say that this composts well, and that uncomposted, it makes a good weed barrier.

I've bought a few freshly shorn fleeces, and ended up tossing some funky bits into the compost pile, where they quickly broke down.

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