All mohair sold on the commercial market is graded (or classed) prior to being offered for sale. The primary criterion used to define the grades of mohair is fibre diameter. Table 1 gives the fibre diameters which define the grades.

Table 1 Grading by Fibre Diameter

Super Fine Kid 24 – 26 micron (note 1)
Fine Kid 27 – 28 micron
Good Kid 29 – 30 micron
Super Fine Yearling 31 – 32 micron
Good Yearling 33 – 34 micron
Super Fine Adult 35 – 36 micron
Good Adult 37 – 39 micron

Note 1 – a micron is one millionth of a metre

Angora goats are sheared first at six months of age and it is this clip that will potentially provide the super fine kid. Good kid and super fine yearling tend to be produced at the 3rd clip at eighteen months. The fibre then coarsens with age to reach adult dimensions from the 5th clip onwards.

Mean fibre diameter is the main parameter that determines the price of raw greasy mohair. Maximum prices are paid for 24 to 26 micron mohair. On average mohair prices fall 5% for each 1 micron increase in the mean fibre diameter. Mohair prices appear to stabilize at about 34 micron and above with prices about 55% of maximum value.

In the major markets (South Africa, Texas, Australia) the grades are subdivided by length into long, medium and short with the longer lots commanding higher prices

Mohair of 13 to 16 cm length commands the maximum price. While it is important to ensure that mohair lots have even lengths, the market discriminates against length to a far lesser extent than against fibre diameter.

Other characteristics which also impact on the value placed on mohair lots are the amount of :

  • style and character Style is the solid twists or ringlets in mohair whilst character is the crimps or waves in the staple. A balance between the two is preferred.
  • kemp and medulation Kemp fibres are coarse, hollow and often short fibres that tend to be stiff and opaque. They are undesirable because they stick out of yarns and finished garments and are scratchy. Medulated fibres are slightly coarser than true mohair and have an interrupted or partially hollow core. Often they are as long as true mohair fibres. They are also undesirable although not as big a problem as kemp. Neither kemp nor medulated fibre take dye as well as mohair fibres which means their presence will be obvious and devalue any dyed mohair products.
  • staining, primarily from urine. The majority of this can be washed out but requires more effort than clean fibre hence raising production costs. It will be used in articles dyed with strong, darker colours.
  • Vegetable (straw, hay, browsings) contamination. Not all vegetable matter will be removed during the washing and combing of the mohair so some contamination will potentially be carried through to the finished mohair product, thus devaluing it.

The impact of style and character is particularly interesting. Recent studies have suggested that style and character are related to the uniformity of fibre length in mohair. The studies showed that style and character are additive. Thus mohair with super style and character should have longer fibre in the processed tops and should spin better than mohair with average or poor style and character. It will therefore be more attractive to processors.

The maximum price will be paid for raw greasy mohair that has the following attributes:

  • Kid mohair less than 26 micron
  • Long (greater than 12 cm) staples
  • Visibly free from kemp and medulation
  • Good style and character
  • Stain free
  • Less than 1% contamination with vegetable matter.
The influence of various mohair attributes on market prices is shown in the table below:

Attribute Range of discounts
Mean fibre diameter up to 45%
Fibre length up to 18%
Kemp and Medullation up to 20%
Style and character up to 40%
Staining and Contamination up to 50%

This shows that generally adult mohair is worth about 55% of the price for super fine kid and that short fibre in a grade loses 18% of the value of long fibre in that grade.

Unfortunately for us in the UK the volumes forward neither justify the cost of such fine divisions, nor would such discriminating grading result in saleable lots. When sold in the UK therefore we generally have only 6 grades:

  • Kemp free kid
  • Kemp free young goat
  • Kemp free adult
  • Kempy all grades
  • Stained
  • Contaminated
From 2010 we have offered the clip on the South African market to the advantage of the better graded fibre.

So what does this all mean for UK producers? The easiest way to maintain the value of your fibre is to ensure that it is free of contamination, thus avoiding a penalty of at least 50%. The second is to breed for fineness and good style and character. It is evident from the improvement in the quality of fibre sold through British Mohair Marketing that this is already the case and explains why our customers continue to buy all our mohair. The third is to produce more mohair to maintain demand and offer the possibility of the production of viable lots in a wider range of grades.

The prices paid in UK from 2006-2009 in £/kg for raw greasy mohair are in the table below:

Grade/Year 2006 2007 2008 2009
Kemp free kid 5.85 6.45 4.50 4.67
Kemp free young goat 5.50 4.54 3.68 3.70
Kemp free adult 4.75 3.38 2.75 3.25
Kemp all grades 4.25 3.04 2.50 2.75
Stained 2.00 0.75 1.00 1.25
Contaminated 0.75 1.35 0.50
The following table provides the approximate values for fibre sold in South Africa

Grade/Year 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14
High Low High Low High Low High Low
Kid 9.65 8.33 13.14 9.97 12.67 9.78
Young Goat 7.55 7.19 8.05 6.50 9.62 4.32 8.94 6.24
Adult 5.09 4.45 6.15 4.25 3.49 3.14 5.59 1.79