A new manually operated wool press that minimises packing and collection costs for sheep farmers has worked well in trials and will be available for the start of the 2012 wool season.

Designed by Mike Regan, the Alpack Wool Press allows heavier sheets of wool to be produced that will cut collection charges.

At the moment producers are charged by the number of sheets collected rather than on weight, as used to be the case. So anything that allows the wool to be compressed into fewer sheets will bring benefits to producers.

The standard wool sheet delivered to wool depots averages 60-70kg. With the new press – depending on the breed – this can be increased to between 100-145kg, reducing the number of sheets used by at least half. Storage can also be halved because the improved uniformity of the wool sheet makes it more stable for stacking.

The new manual press is easily operated, says Mr Regan, and compresses the wool as it packs. It requires no power or hydraulics and is easily transportable, making it ideal for shearing contractors or for neighbouring farmers who want to share costs.

It can also be used to pack on-farm waste such as plastic wrapping. Further details are available on the website.