A YORKSHIRE bed-maker which owns a 300-acre farm near York found an unusual way to improve its bedding material.

Harrison Spinks at Bolton Percy found playing music to its flock of sheep softens their wool, and has installed speakers across its farm.

The 179-year-old family business employs 600 people in the region and said music naturally increased levels of lanolin produced by the sheep, which resulted in a thicker, more luxurious wool.

Simon Spinks, managing director, said: "We have an in-house R&D team and we’re constantly looking to innovate in all aspects of mattress production in our pursuit of the perfect night’s sleep.

"This latest innovation was inspired by research in New Zealand which showed that content sheep increase their lanolin production – more lanolin in wool makes it softer. We know that music produces dopamine in humans which makes us feel happy, so we tested some uplifting tracks and it had an almost overnight affect on lanolin production. Specifically, we saw not just a 14 per cent increase in fleece mass, but a softer more sumptuous wool compared to the coats from sheep in the fields without music."

The company has installed speakers across its farm, and is now looking at different musical genres to see if it can pinpoint the best performing tracks for maximum lanolin production.

Simon said: "It’s low volume, so there’s no noise pollution and the sheep are free to roam away from the tunes, but they tend to congregate near the speakers.

"Every few months we do a live set which the sheep really respond to. Our R&D team are now looking at everything from musical genres to specific songs to see if there’s a correlation between track type and wool softness."