The climo-vegetal conditions of Australia are well conductive for sheep rearing. Therefore Australia ranks first in wool production in the world. During 2007, it produced 437,000 metric tons wool. Australia ranks second in sheep keeping after China. In 2007, number of sheep in Australia were more than 100 millions.
Marino is the major breed for wool production, which alone accounts for more than 65% of the sheep reared in the country. Australia’s southwestern, southeastern and southern regions are best suitable for sheep rearing.
Per sheep production in Australia is high, because Marinos yield between 12—22 kg of wool per sheep per year.
Bulk of Australian wool is exported in the international market. It meets about 30% demand of the world market.
China has emerged as a largest sheep rearing country in the world. According to 2007, statistics China keep about 172 million (171.96 million) sheep. Its wool production in 2007, ranking second after Australia was 395,000 metric tons.
The continental climate of central and western regions of China is very suitable for sheep rearing. One major drawback of Chinese sheep-stock is poor quality of wool and low per sheep production. China has emerged as a big wool consuming country. Her wool output goes for carpet manufacturing. For hosiery industry, China import lamb wool from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
(3) New Zealand
In comparison to its size, New Zealand has an astonishingly great number of sheep population. According to 2007, FAO statistics, sheep population New Zealand was 40 million, while its wool production was about 218 thousand metric tons.
The maritime climate, best pasture availability throughout the year have enabled New Zealand to specialize in wool production. Wool is valuable export for New Zealand.
The Canterbury Plain on the drier east of South Island is central area for wool- sheep rearing. Besides, Auckland Peninsula, the Hawkes Bay region, and Wanganui Lowlands in the North Island are other important areas for sheep rearing.
About 75% of wool output is obtained from Romney Marsh breed. Most of output of wool is exported to U.K., U.S.A., and European nations. New Zealand has maintained very high status in wool yield per sheep.
Carpet manufacturing is a traditional art work in Iran and its history is as old as Iranian civilization and Irani carpets possesses unique position in the world market. Therefore, wool is crying need of its carpet industry. During 2007, ranking 4th in the world, Iran produced 75 thousand metric tons wool. Sheep population in Iran is more
than 52 million.
Iran’s semi-arid to arid climate, plateau to mountainous topography and large spread grasslands has provided excellent environmental conditions for sheep keeping. Although, Iran produces carpet wool but it has managed to replace the local sheep breeds with crossbreed sheep, to improve quality, and quantity of wool. Iran imports wool for her hosiery industry.
(5) United Kingdom
In United Kingdom rough pasture lands of the Scotish highlands, Southern Uplands of Scotland the Chevoit Hills, the Pennines, the lake District, and the Welsh Mountains, Eastern Highland and Moorlands of Devon are home for sheep rearing.
Today (2007), sheep numbers in U.K. is 33.6 million and production was 62,000 metric tons. United Kingdom ranks 5th in sheep population in the world.
Britain has a very old tradition of woolen industry and imports wool from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
Argentina outranks all nations in sheep keeping and wool production is South America. During 2007, ranking 6th in the world, it produced more than 56 thousand metric tons wool, while sheep population was 12.45 millions.
In Argentina, sheep rearing is most important in the drier regions, including the Patagonia plateau, Western Argentina and Eastern Foothills of the Andes. In Patagonia, the ranches are very large and cover several hundred thousand hectares of land. This region contribute more than 50% output of wool. Argentina is leading exporter of wool and meat in the continent.
(7) Russian Federation
Russian Federation is 7th largest wool producer in the world. During 2007, it produced 52 thousand metric tons wool, while its population of sheep was 17.5 million.
In the Russian Federation, sheep rearing is pre-historic phenomenon. Western Siberia, Ural Mts region, Voga and Caucasian region’s steppe grasslands are best suitable for sheep keeping. Russia produces medium quality wool. Due to harsh climate its demand is very large, therefore; it imports high quality wool.
Uruguay is second largest wool producer in South America, while it ranks 8th in the world. During 2007 Uruguay produced 50 thousand metric tons wool, while its population of sheep was 11 million.
Uruguay shares Patagonian plateau with Argentina, which is best grassland and is world famous for animal rearing. Uruguay rear best breeds of sheep — crossbreeds. It exports large amounts of wool and mutton in the international market.
Turkey is 9th largest producer of wool in the world. During 2007, it produced 46 thousand metric tons wool, while its sheep population was 25.4 million.
In Turkey, Central Inatolian plateau regions physio-vegetal and climatic conditions are best suitable for sheep keeping. Low rain fall and abundant grass availability has boasted sheep rearing in Turkey.
Like Iran, in carpet manufacturing Turkey has also unique position in the world market, its medium quality wool fulfill its need. While lamb wool is imported for hosiery industry.
Sudan ranks 10th in wool production among all, nations in the world, ranking first in the Africa. Its Savanna grasslands, continental climate has promoted sheep keeping. Sudan has vast area for sheep rearing. It keeps low quality wool producing breeds.
According to 2007, FAO statistics, its wool production was 46,000 metric tons and population of sheep was 49 millions. Per sheep production of wool in Sudan is very low, which needs improvement for high yields.
Besides India, South Africa, Pakistan, Morocco, Kazakhstan and Syria are other important countries which keep large number of sheep and produce big amounts of wool.
In the international market, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Uruguay, South Africa are main wool exporting nations. These five Southern Hemisphere countries exports more than 80% of wool supplied in the international market.
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