However, they are now more commonly considered part of the domestic goat subspecies Capra aegagrus hircus. You can manage your cookie choices and preferences, as well as deny your consent to the installation of cookies, by clicking here. Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation:
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The Alashan is characterised by extreme climates and temperature changes, and a scarcity of water and food. To survive these hostile conditions the Capra hircus has developed a soft and fine underfleece, cashmere, which stays in direct contact with their skin and provides warmth and protection. Herders harvest their goats between May and June, when the weather gets milder and the animals no longer need the extra protection from the elements.
The fibre is obtained by gently coming the goats, helping them shed their fleece that they would have otherwise moulted naturally. The fibre has a soft, downy feel and is outstandingly thin, measuring The fleece from the white Capra hircus is also characterised by having longer fibres, which can be processed and transformed into particularly fine yarns for fabrics and clothing.
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Cashmere wool fiber for clothing and other textile articles is obtained from the neck region of Cashmere and other goats. Historically, fine-haired Cashmere goats have been called Capra hircus laniger , as if they were a subspecies of the domestic goat Capra hircus. However, they are now more commonly considered part of the domestic goat subspecies Capra aegagrus hircus.
Cashmere goats produce a double fleece that consists of a fine, soft undercoat or underdown of hair mingled with a straighter and much coarser outer coating of hair called guard hair. For the fine underdown to be sold and processed further, it must be de-haired. De-hairing is a mechanical process that separates the coarse hairs from the fine hair. After de-hairing, the resulting "cashmere" is ready to be dyed and converted into textile yarn, fabrics and garments.
Cashmere is collected during the spring moulting season when the goats naturally shed their winter coat. In the Northern Hemisphere , the goats moult as early as March and as late as May. In some regions, the mixed mass of down and coarse hair is removed by hand with a coarse comb that pulls tufts of fiber from the animal as the comb is raked through the fleece.
The collected fiber then has a higher yield of pure cashmere after the fiber has been washed and dehaired. The long, coarse guard hair is then typically clipped from the animal and is often used for brushes, interfacings and other non-apparel uses.
Animals in Iran , Afghanistan , New Zealand , and Australia are typically shorn of their fleece, resulting in a higher coarse hair content and lower pure cashmere yield. In America, the most popular method is combing. The process takes up to two weeks, but with a trained eye for when the fiber is releasing, it is possible to comb the fibers out in about a week. China has become the largest producer of raw cashmere, estimated at 10, metric tons in hair per year. Mongolia follows with 7, tons in hair as of ,  while Afghanistan , Iran , Turkey , Kyrgyzstan  and other Central Asian republics produce lesser amounts.
The annual world clip is estimated to be between 15, and 20, tons 13, and 18, tonnes in hair. Pure cashmere, resulting from removing animal grease, dirt and coarse hairs from the fleece, is estimated at about 6, tons 5, tonnes. Ultra-fine Cashmere or Pashmina is still produced by communities in Indian Kashmir but its rarity and high price, along with political instability in the region, make it very hard to source and to regulate quality.
It is estimated that on average yearly production per goat is grams 0. Pure cashmere can be dyed and spun into yarns and knitted into jumpers sweaters , hats , gloves , socks and other clothing, or woven into fabrics then cut and assembled into garments such as outer coats , jackets , trousers pants , pajamas , scarves , blankets , and other items. Fabric and garment producers in Scotland , Italy , and Japan have long been known as market leaders. In the United States , the town of Uxbridge, Massachusetts , was an incubator for the cashmere wool industry.
It had the first power looms for woolens and the first manufacture of " satinets ". Capron Mill had the first power looms, in It burned on July 21, , in the Bernat Mill fire.
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