Action taken in response to global wool market crash
A local farmer has explained why nearly 1000 sheep fleeces have been buried in a gully.
Anna Kerruish says the global wool market has crashed this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, and the cost of processing certain types of wool is unviable.
Anna, who farms in Maughold , has just received payment from the Department of Agriculture for 2019's clip, which worked out at around 32 pence per kilogram.
Back in 2010 they received an average of £1.37 per kilogram.
Anna farms a mixture of lowland and mountain sheep. The lowland wool has been packed and stored and will go to the grading shed at Knockaloe in September. The mountain breeds produce much coarser wool which has a lower value - and that's why - given all the costs involved in processing the wool and the fact that each sheep costs £1.55 to shear, the decision was made to put the wool out of sight in a 30 foot gully.
This practice does have some environmental benefits, and is something some farmers are paid to do in the Yorkshire Dales.
Anna says DEFA is looking at alternatives and doing its best to help local farmers. Things such as compost, mulch for tree planting and gardens, and fleeces to block upland ditches are all considerations but do little to add value.
Anna has paid tribute to all local shearers and wool wrappers this year who have taken on the task of shearing without the usual influx of Kiwis and Welsh shearers to lighten the load.
Manx Radio has contacted DEFA for a response.