First to introduce myself.
My name is Kami Noyes, I am a past Montana Fibershed Board Member. My husband Reid and I own Ranching Tradition Fiber, we raise Targhee Rambouillet sheep, we sell our wool online and in yarn stores across Montana. I am also the sole organizer of the Copper K Fiber Festival.
I have been involved with sheep off and on my whole life. I started selling raw wool 19 years ago. Ranching and Fiber arts are my passion. Wool has so many good qualities as many of you know. But as in any product there can be waste. For the last 10 years I have been researching and reading what types of things you can do with waste wool. Waste wool what is waste wool you ask? “Waste wool” some have a different interpretation of what waste wool is. Waste wool can be wool skirted off the fleece (belly, leg, head, butt, and sometimes back wool), you can also have waste wool from a fleece that breaks or has too short of a staple to process. There is also waste wool created from processing called milling waste. A few years back we stumbled upon something called a wool pellet used as a fertilizer. A wool pellet is raw wool compressed under great pressure. Most people who have raised sheep have known the benefits of adding wool to their gardens and flower beds, so wool pellets made sense to us. But the problem was the equipment needed to make a wool pellet were not made in the U.S., something we were not willing to purchase from overseas. Last winter we learned of a company who was starting to develop a wool shredder and wool pelletizer in the U.S. We got a hold of them right away and placed an order, we were told the shredder was being tested and should be ready to distribute in a few weeks. Well needless to say a few weeks turned into a few months, 7 months later we got our equipment. We are still working with the company on testing and reconstructing the shredder to
work, the pelletizer works well. You must shred the wool before the
pelletizer will pellet the wool.
Many people and universities have done studies on the benefits of wool pellets. Wool Pellets are a slow-release natural fertilizer. They can feed plants up to 6 months, they have shown to help reduce grow time for vegetables. They conserve 20-25% water, softens hard clay soils, and great as a pest control.
I am working on a little study myself with my indoor plants and the benefits have been fun to see. I can tend to over water or under water my indoor plants and with the wool pellets they seem to hold the water away from the roots until the dirt dries out and needs the moistures. Making my plants happy.
A few questions we have received.
Will we be custom processing for others? As of right now we are not able to. Once we get the equipment running better and develop a system, we may add custom processing in the future.
Is there a patent on wool pellets? There is a patent on wool pellets being added to another product such as a soil and being sold. There is not a patent on just a simple 100% wool pellet.
What about the weed seeds in wool will they carry through to my garden? No. When pelletizing the equipment gets really hot and kills all the weed seeds.
Our wool pellets are 100% Montana raised waste wool with no fillers or binders added. You can read more about our wool pellets on our website. You can also purchase wool pellets in our online store, or in local shops around Montana.
Thanks for reading and please reach out with any questions.