Australian shorn wool output forecast to dip in 2023/24

Sheep Central August 18, 2023

Australia’s wool production is set to plateau in the next 12 months.

AUSTRALIA’S greasy wool production is expected to total 328 million kilograms in 2022/23, but decrease by 1.1 percent to 324 Mkg in the following year.

The Australian Wool Production Forecasting Committee has confirmed its April estimate of shorn wool production for the 2022/23 season at 328Mkgs, 1.3pc higher than the 2021/22 season production of 324 Mkg greasy.

AWPFC chairman, Stephen Hill, said favourable conditions for sheep and wool production evident in Autumn carried forward to the end of the 2022/23 season.

“Abundant pasture availability in key wool producing regions maintained average cut per head at historically high levels in most states,” he said.

On a national basis, average cut per head is estimated to be 4.59 kg greasy, 2.2pc higher than in 2021/22 season. Most Australian Wool Testing Authority key test data (Table 3) for the 2022/23 season are similar to last season.

Mr Hill said national shorn sheep numbers in 2022/23 were similar to the 2021/22 season at 71.5 million head, down 0.1pc.

New South Wales continues to have the largest sheep flock of 25.9 million sheep that are expected to produce 119 Mkg of greasy wool, followed by Victoria with 16.1 million sheep shorn and 70 Mkg of wool. Western Australia is expected to produce 60.6 Mkg of greasy wool from 13 million sheep.

AWTA wool test volume for 2022/23 was up by 3.8pc on a year-on-year basis. First-hand offered wool at auction was on par with the 2021/22 season.

The August AWPFC estimate includes a clean wool estimate for average cut per head and shorn wool production. For the 2022/23 season the yield (%, Schlumberger dry top and noil yield) from the AWTA key test data was used to calculate the clean average cut per head and clean wool shorn wool production (Table 1).

The committee said reduced sheep meat prices and continued limitations on processing capacity are expected to fuel a modest increase in the number of sheep shorn during 2023/24 (72.1 million, up 0.8pc) as producers retain some of the sheep that would normally have been turned off.

Average cut per head is expected to reduce to 4.50 kg greasy (down 2.2pc) due to retained lambs in most states and the hotter and drier seasonal outlook.

The committee said producers in most states are wary of carrying excess stock if the season deteriorates. The timing of any hotter and drier weather will impact sheep producers’ decisions to sell or retain stock going into Summer, the AWPFC said. The committee  will review its forecast in December once the seasonal and market outlook is better understood.

The full forecast report will be available on the AWI website at from 25th August 2023.

Source – AWPFC.


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