Fiber Sorting, Grading & Classing

Sorting -


Sorting is the process by which each animals blanket is evaluated. Shearing day is the optimum time to sort shorn fiber. There is less contamination when you can get the fiber sorted as it comes off the animal. Animals need to be shorn by color groups with all animals from one color completed. Once the blanket is removed from the animal the fleece is weighed, recorded and then sorted in one of twelve bins depending on grade (micron), length and color. When sorting is completed, each bag will have only like fibers from all animals in the herd of that color.

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Classing fiber is similar to grading but fine tunes the criteria by evaluating the quality of the fiber including uniformity of the fineness, length, style and color. It also takes into account the amount of hairy fiber present as well as vegetable matter and other contaminants. 

Grading -

Grading fleece is an evaluation of fiber characteristics. Utilizing this process provides the best overall return on the annual clip from your farm herd. Each fleece is evaluated for grade of Secondary Fibers, Grade and frequency of Primary Fibers and Grade of Guard Hair in order to place fiber into appropriate grade. A grade is a range of approximately 3 microns. Grade 1 being the finest is <20 Microns and the coarsest is Grade 6  >28 Microns. Each grade has a purpose and is essential to maximizing your profits. Grading is part of the herd evaluation process, but can also be applied individually to each fleece and recorded. Fiber is also graded by length for appropriate use and sent to processing mills based on this category.

Benefits of sorting fiber by like color, length and grade include:

  • more usable fiber per animal

  • superior products created from sorted fiber command higher prices and repeat customers

  • increased yield during production.

  • A complete inventory for the entire harvest provides summary of herd productivity

     and helps manage fleece when processing.

  • Preparation for cottage processing, commercial collections or for submission to Natural Fiber Producers Co-op.

Sorting, Grading & Classing Fees


Sorting rate $4.50 per animal and when necessary  travel expenses (first 30 miles free, .57 cents per mile thereafter), fees include:

  • pre-shearing consultation

  • completed report of fleece harvest weights by grade and length

  • post-sorting consultation of fiber use, herd management, and/or breeding for fiber improvements

Classing services, such as completed individual animal sort record or fleece evaluation card to promote cottage sales available for additional fee of $3.50 per animal.

Please download the attached brochure for additional information.