Cleaning up fodder drop zones after a flood

Baling twine

Because unopened bales of hay are used during fodder drops, there can be a considerable amount of baling twine lying around the drop zones. Baling twine should be removed and disposed of as soon as possible. If twine is left in these areas, then several problems might arise. Obvious problems include:

  • entanglement around the legs of stock;
  • choking or blockages in the digestive tract due to the animals’ tendency to chew on the synthetic twines;
  • wool clip contamination.

Wool clip contamination

It is essential that baling twine be collected from drop zones to remove the possibility of strands of this fibre being lodged in the fleece of sheep. Baling twine is regarded as a foreign object contaminant of wool. Contamination by non-wool articles is the single biggest issue for the quality of the Australian wool clip.

Present standards for the level of dark fibre contamination (e.g. urine stain) in top is 100 dark fibres per kilogram.

The standard for non-wool fibre contamination, e.g. polypropylene baling twine, is nil.

AWTA Ltd provides a contamination screening service as part of the core testing procedure. Any lot that is core tested is also screened, and contamination may be identified. If contamination is found, these lots will be withdrawn from sale.

Where contamination is found, the woolclasser and handling agent will be notified, and the cost of handling the bales to remove the contamination may be passed on to the producer.

If contamination is found soon after sale before shipment, buyers have the right to reject the purchase.

Further information on quality assurance in the wool industry can be found in the Australian Wool Exchange Ltd’s Code of Practice for the AWEX Quality System — Preparation of Australian Woolclips.


While cleaning up baling twine, remember that weed seeds may have been in the hay. Check for the germination and growth of introduced weeds, and control them appropriately.