Gone are the days when the wool cheque paid for annual rent of the farm, but there is more cash available for this year’s clip now that DB Wools are actively looking for product north of the Border.

The company which is a subsidiary of Standard Wools based in Dewsbury, buys, scours and sells wool throughout the world and now has its first Scottish agent in Dumfriesshire-based Hugh Hamilton.

“There are huge opportunities for the company to expand into Scotland when DB Wools will lift all types of wool provided it’s clean and dry and they pay for it at the end of the month in which it has been collected. They also pay more for the wool because they are keen to ensure the long-term viability of the sector.”

While DB Wools has been in operation for six years, the Group was established in the 18th Century and revolves around the processing of 13.5m kg of British wool per year to sell to more than 30 countries. It specialises in sourcing, supplying, and processing wools from the UK and overseas and employs more than 100 people throughout the textile region of West Yorkshire in the UK.

Furthermore, such is the demand for wool, that Standard Wools has to buy in wool at the auction sales at Bradford and also has staff overseas trading in locations including New Zealand, Ireland, China, and Chile.

“The company is based on trust, with my role being to locate all types of wool in southern and central Scotland, regardless of the volume and arrange for transport down to Dewsbury. We aim to give a good service with mutual trust on both sides – DB Wools collects the wool at collection points either via their preferred contractors or local company lorries – and the farmer is paid before it has been manufactured.”

Mr Hamilton who previously was a hill sheep farmer at Glenmanna, Penpont, Thornhill, said there are two prices available to producers – a base value for the type of wool with an extra 5p per kg premium added if there are two tonnes or more to collect from the one producer.

“The base price for Blackface wool is 25p per kg and we’re buying other dense, white wools such as Texel, Suffolk, Mule, Aberfield, Lleyn and others at 42p and if the amount totals two tonnes, that price would be 47p,” said Mr Hamilton, adding that black wool is valued at 20p and Swaledale at 10p.

Admittedly, such prices are still not enough to cover the actual cost of shearing, but being significantly higher than other wool buyers, Mr Hamilton has picked up more than double the amount expected last season, and 2024 is looking a lot more promising.

“I know of some people that were going to burn their wool because it was worth so little, but on visiting them, I could offer one of them £1600 to lift it. Wool does have a value and DB Wools will pay as much as it can. We’ll also take any amount – even three or four bags because we can always fill a lorry in a parish.”

Anyone looking to sell through the company should first contact Mr Hamilton on 07931 353961, or any of the eight agents south of the Border, where he will then arrange for wool bags, string and ties to be sent out. He then inspects the wool in the bags, weighs the bags and arranges for the clip to be collected.