Clip preparation

Clip preparation is critical to the quality of wool entering the wool supply chain. There are more than 16,000 registered wool classers in Australia.

Typical Australian wool bales weigh 178 kilograms and around 1.5 million bales are produced each year.

Fast Facts

There are more than 16,000 registered wool classers in Australia.

Each registered wool classer is accredited for three years.

Typical Australian wool bales weigh 178 kilograms.

World-leading clip preparation standards

Clip preparation involves the handling and subdivision of individual shorn fleeces in the shearing shed, and their allocation into lines of wool for sale.

Australian clip preparation standards aim to maximise the quality and predictability of each line of wool prepared for sale, while minimising purchase risks for wool buyers and processors.

Australian clip preparation standards are defined in the industry Code of Practice for the preparation of wool clips and regulated through the AWEX as an integrated wool quality system.

This system encompasses the training and accreditation of wool classers, wool pack standards, standardised descriptions for classed wool, and continual performance auditing.

All wool offered at auction in Australia is audited by AWEX clip inspectors to detect lines of wool prepared below the minimum standard, and inspection results are reported to classers.

National Wool Declaration

The Australian National Wool Declaration (NWD) plays a critical role in ensuring Australia’s clip meet evolving customer requirements. It is managed by AWEX. The NWD is the standardised method by which woolgrowers define and declare their animal welfare practices (such as mulesing status) and the Dark and Medullated Fibre Risk of their wool to wool exporters, processors and retailers.

To ensure NWD integrity, AWEX has implemented a two-tier audit and integrity program including farm inspections and provides a consignment verification service for wool exporters.

Through use of the NWD wool can be marketed with a risk rating according to Australia’s Dark and Medullated Fibre Risk Scheme, providing buyers with assurances in relation to processing performance.


Australian innovations have influenced the nature of modern wool harvesting tools, including the handpieces used by shearers and bale presses. This is still an active area of R&D investment, which includes robotics and other de-fleecing methods. Read more about the work that Australian Wool Innovation are undertaking in the wool harvesting innovation space.