The Merino sheep and its crossbreeds are the basis of southern hemisphere fine wool production. The Merino originated in Spain. The breed grows well in arid conditions as found in Australia, South Africa and parts of New Zealand.
The Merino of Australia is the backbone of the largest wool producing country in the world and this breed is the only one grown purely for its wool. The Merino ranges in micron from superfine, 12-13microns to coarse, 25-26microns, the finest grown in Australia. The bulk of Merino wool production is 20-23microns. Staple length varies from 30-90mm.
This breed is found in many countries of the world and the quality of fleece produced varies greatly, depending on growing conditions and animal husbandry.