Australian 2017-18 wool production forecast lifted to 345 million kilograms

Sheep Central, December 15, 2017

AUSTRALIA’S shorn wool production is expected to rise to 345 million kilograms in 2017-18, boosted by an increase in the number of sheep expected to be shorn nationally.

The Australian Wool Production Forecasting Committee today forecast that shorn wool production in 2017-18 will lift by 1.4 percent over its final 2016-17 national clip estimate of 340mkg.

Committee chairman Russell Pattinson said that seasonal conditions in the major sheep-producing areas across Australia were very mixed through winter and into spring.

“Large areas of New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and parts of Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania experienced very dry conditions from July to September.

“Western Australia, in particular, is being affected after the exceptional season in 2016-17,” he said.

“Despite this, spring shearing in New South Wales and Queensland has benefited from the good seasonal conditions seen for at least part of 2016-17, resulting in good fleece weights to date.

“Fleece weights could pull back as the season progresses.”

Mr Pattinson said other regions have seen excellent conditions, notably in the western half of Victoria and the south-east of South Australia. Fleece weights in these regions have been good and are likely to increase in these states as a result, he said.

“The high and rising wool prices have encouraged producers to shear their sheep and deliver as quickly as possible into the market.

“In some cases, producers are reported to be shearing earlier than usual to take advantage of these high prices,” Mr Pattinson said.

“This has boosted the volume of wool tested and wool being offered at auction in the first five months of the season.”

Mr Pattinson said the weight of wool tested by AWTA in the first five months of 2017-18 is up by 5pc, but the committee expected wool volumes would slow in the second half of the season, partly because some clips that are usually delivered in the second half of the season have already been sold.

By state, the committee predicted that shorn wool production will increase in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania in 2017-18. In contrast, shorn wool production in Western Australia and Queensland is expected to fall, with production in Western Australia dropping most.

The committee noted that for the 2017-18 season to November, the AWTA test data showed a significant decline in the weight of wool tested of 16.5 microns and finer. There has also been a decline in 21 micron wool and wool between 24 and 26 micron. Wool volumes have increased for other micron ranges, with substantial percentage increases for wool broader than 28.5 micron.

The average mean fibre diameter for the season to November was 20.8 micron, up by 0.1 micron. Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland have all recorded a 0.3 micron lift in mean fibre diameter for the season, while the Western Australia clip micron average fell 0.4 micron. The average staple length has fallen by 1.7 mm in the first five months to 88.4 mm, with all states except for Tasmania recording shorter staple length averages.

Source: Australian Wool Innovation.


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