Wool Control provides a service to sheep farmers by offering a guaranteed market for their wool.
The Department purchases nearly all wool produced on the Island. A small amount of this is sold locally - for example to the Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers. The bulk - about 150,000 kg per year - is sold at auction in Bradford, West Yorkshire.
After sheep are clipped, their wool is collected and stored by local merchants. Between the months of September and April the wool is brought into the Wool Control to be graded and packed, ready to be shipped off the Island.
Manx wool may be graded into any of fourteen categories. The finer grades are worth more money since they can usually be sold for use as hand-knitting yarn, tweeds or blankets, and mattress and futon manufacture. Wool from lowland cross-bred or hill sheep is usually used in carpet manufacture.
Coloured wool can be awkward to dye, which restricts its market to grey or dark coloured yarn or carpets.
From production on farms, Manx wool can end up in many different parts of the world: Japan, China, USA, Italy, Scotland and Australia to name but a few.