Australian Merino wool is an entirely natural fibre grown year-round by Australia's 70 million Merino sheep. Grazing on extensive grassland terrain, Merino sheep in Australia are free-range animals that live a largely carefree existence. From the high rainfall areas of the eastern seaboard to the drier pastoral areas of the west, Merino sheep have become an integral part of the iconic Australian landscape.
Merino wool is composed of a natural protein that is biodegradable, similar to the protein found in human hair. When disposed of, Merino wool decomposes in soil in a matter of years, slowly releasing valuable nitrogen-based nutrients back into the earth, acting like a fertiliser. In contrast, synthetic fibres can be extremely slow to degrade.
And Merino wool is a completely renewable fibre source; Australian Merino sheep produce a new fleece every year. In addition, Australian Merino farmers work tirelessly to conserve the pastures on which their Merino sheep graze, protecting and preserving the natural resources for future generations while maintaining the efficiency of their land.
Ethical and environmentally-sensitive farming can be as important for today's discerning customer as the quality of the clothing itself. Australian Merino wool achieves the highest standards across these areas.
Raised on sustainable grassland terrain, Australian Merino sheep are well-suited to grazing a variety of natural pastures. For generations, the farmers who produce this fine wool have shown how the Australian rural landscape can be managed effectively while protecting the natural environment, supporting rural communities, and meeting the needs of increasingly environmentally-aware customers.
Through selective breeding for quality, Australian farmers continue to improve the excellence of their Merino flocks. The breeding process is complex and difficult, requiring skills acquired over many years. The Australian wool industry invests heavily in research, development and education to help farmers identify the best animals to breed from, constantly seeking even finer, softer, Merino wool.
Australian Merino farmers are passionate about maintaining healthy sheep, both for the welfare of the animals and the quality of the wool they produce. The Australian industry leads the world in developing and implementing improvements in Merino sheep welfare. Being an island helps keep a lot of diseases and pests out of Australia too, helping maintain a healthy, unique and natural ecosystem.
Sheep shearing is an iconic Australian activity, and most Merino farmers employ specialist, professional shearers for the purpose. The principles of sheep shearing have changed little in two hundred years and it still requires strength and skill. But the modern day shearer is well equipped and athletically built, with the skills to shear up to 180 sheep a day.
Well looked-after sheep living in a good environment produce the best wool. So it's in the interests of the Merino farmers, as well as the sheep, to commit to exceptionally high standards of animal welfare, responsible use of land and water resources, and sustainable farming for the benefit of future generations of their families and communities.