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02/07/2019

Ria Dreyer is the first woman wool appraiser in South Africa, with nine years of experience in the wool industry. Employed at BKB, South Africa’s largest wool brokering organisation, she hopes to make a unique contribution to the wool industry by completing her doctorate soon.

Born and raised in Beaufort-West, Ria recently received the Nelson Mandela University Council Award for the best Master’s in Technology by Dissertation: Science, Engineering and Technology at the recent annual Academic Awards.

She obtained 78% for her Master’s degree in Agriculture, focusing on communal wool production.

As a wool appraiser, Ria determines the preliminary value of wool, prior to the sale date, by subjectively characterising it according to its physical attributes, such as style, colour, appearance, length, etc.

At BKB, Ria is also the wool technician on the objective measurement floor. “This floor is where all the samples (grab, core, length and strength) are taken from the bales and the official bale-weights are captured onto the system”, she says.

The grab sample is a sample of about three to four kg from a sale lot that can be inspected by potential buyers before the auction.

“My sole responsibility is quality control, making sure that the best possible representative grab sample is taken from each sale lot. Sometimes, the bales get mixed or marked incorrectly on the farm, and in so doing, different types of wool end up in the same sale lot.

She is charged with deciding on the appropriate course of action with regard to each particular case and keeps thorough records of each lot that she alters. She also has simple systems in place, which ensure complete traceability of why a sale lot was altered and where the bales were sent in the warehouse.  

“Another part of my duties and responsibilities entails drafting and providing numerous production figures (input and output) to several individuals in the warehouse. I also write the BKB Mohair Market Report after each Mohair sale based on the figures published by Mohair SA.

“My studies have broadened my horizons, expanded my knowledge and enlarged my understanding of the wool industry. Writing my dissertation has morphed into an amazing journey of personal growth and development.

Ria is also very passionate about on-farm classing and clip preparation because this is the first link in the chain and sets the precedence for the entire wool clip.

Apart from wool, she is fascinated with any aspect of animal husbandry, particularly animal health, nutrition and breeding.

Ria believes true success in life is about having a positive effect on the environment for a healthy and prosperous world. Nothing worth doing comes easy. It takes hard work, commitment, dedication and sacrifice. No matter what you do, always do it to the best of your ability.

On the sports field, Ria achieved Protea colours in equestrian sport in 2005.

Contact information
Ms Elma de Koker
Internal Communication Practitioner
Tel: 041-504 2160
elma.dekoker@mandela.ac.za