American bison grow a thick coat of fibres which assists them to withstand severe climatic conditions. Bison fibre was traditionally used in textiles by native North Americans. This study aimed to quantify the production, fibre attributes and dehairing processing of bison fibre produced from bison grazed in north-eastern Victoria. Three age/sex classes were sampled (n = 16) at seven body positions in spring. The fibre growing area was measured. Fibre was tested for diameter distribution, clean washing yield, proportion of fine fibres <36µm and fine fibre length, and processed by cashmere dehairing. Bison were 12 years of age, liveweights 160450 kg and had mean fibre growing area of 1.4 m2. They produced an average 1184 g (range 5301640 g) of fine fibre with mean fibre diameter 18.5µm, clean washing yield 76.5%, wax content 9.8%, suint content 14.5%, clean fine fibre yield 56.4%, fine fibre length 37 mm and fibre curvature was 93/mm. Mid-side fibre had a crimp frequency of 6.5/cm and mean resistance to compression of 6.6 kPa. Fibre had a tenacity of 8.7 cN/tex and an extension of 39.3%. Restricted maximum likelihood mixed model analysis showed age/sex class and sampling site significantly affected all fibre attributes. Finer and longer fibre was produced in anterior sites and in younger bison. Fibre curvature declined 5.3°/mm for each 1-µm increase in mean fibre diameter. Dehaired fibre had a mean fibre diameter of 17.8 µm and mid-length of 28 mm, suitable for woollen spinning. The production by bison of coats containing significant amounts of fibre indicates that careful harvesting of fibre could form an important source of income in bison enterprises.
Field of Research
091012 Textile Technology
Socio Economic Objective
830599 Primary Animal Products not elsewhere classified