I know you probably don't think about this too often and rather just worry that the cost of your fleece is too high. I have 25 wool producing sheep, not many really. The cost of feed for the sheep is approximately $4000 per year. The cost of shearing and hoof trimming here is $10 per sheep, plus travel time. It usually costs me around $550 to shear the sheep. Then there are medications. I do not routinely use any medications with the sheep since I have primitive breeds primarily which are more hardy than "man bred" sheep. They are parasite resistant, foot rot resistant and do well without grain. They are not fed grain at all. But if necessary, I will treat a sheep who requires worming or is ill. One small bottle of deworming medicine is over $100 dollars. Then there are halters, leads, buildings, tags, which are mandatory in Alberta and end up costing around $4-5 dollars per sheep, including the postage and registration. Registered purebred sheep require money paid, usually around $15-25 per lamb and a membership fee to join the registering body. Each new lamb that is registered is charged this fee. Veterinarian fees run high here. To even have a vet look at a sheep, it is around $150. Any blood work, lab tests or x rays are over $40 per test. I have spent upwards of $1200 to diagnose an illness in a sheep that was registered and only worth $450. There are other hidden costs too. My labour is never accounted for, never. To help ensure clean fleeces for you, I invested in $1500 worth of hay nets for this winter. Coats are as expensive and more labour intensive for long wooled sheep as they require changes monthly so the wool stays fresh and does not felt or get sticky.
So basically, I just want to outline the cost of raising wool sheep. Every area is a little different. Wool sheep are usually not meat sheep, though the meat can be eaten. It is just that it does not bring in the dollars like a meat sheep. A meat lamb will sell at 110 pounds live weight for $300 or so now, but a wool sheep will sell at $150 if I am lucky. To butcher, cut and wrap the meat from a lamb is $200 not including transportation to and from the abattoir.
In our area we have high predation, so I have 8 dogs, 2 border collies to help move the sheep and find them in the bush to bring them in for the night, and 6 livestock guardians who work very hard to protect all the animals on the farm, including me. To feed the dogs is $500 per month. Without them the losses would be very high. Again this is specific to this area, though many areas where sheep are raised face the same problems.
Selling a whole raw fleece provides the farmer the least income. The expectaion is that it would sell for under $100 dollars. That does not cover the cost of the feed even for the sheep for the year. Hay here is $75 for a good large round bale, and a little less for a poorer quality. Wool growth is like your hair and is dependent on the food to be of the utmost beauty. Poor feed = poor wool with breaks and brittle fibres.
There are farmers who prefer to sell whole fleeces, yes. If many meat sheep are raised, the wool is a by product of the meat industry and they just want to cover the cost of the shearer basically and a little more. If you want inexpensive fleece, look for a production farm. Some have excellent wool, like Corriedale, Tunis, or Merino. It will come to you cheaply but usually the farmer cannot be bothered to weigh, package and post it, so look locally. Specialty fibre farms make money only through wool or breeding stock if they have purebred registered animals. The wool you would find from them will be by the ounce or pound and of course, much more expensive.
There is also fencing, general labour, housing and shelter and the list goes on. The ideal situation would be to raise a fine wooled sheep breed such as Merino, which is dual purpose and will produce fine market lambs as well as marketable wool. I am going to work on that. Yup!