The Australian Wool Production Forecasting Committee now estimates shorn wool production for 2015/16 season will be 7 percent lower than its estimate of 346 mkg for the 2014-15 season.
Committee chairman Russell Pattinson said seasonal conditions in a number of the major sheep producing regions in Australia have been drier than expected over spring, which has resulted in lower fleece weights and, more recently, reports of increased sheep turn-off.
“Victoria, Tasmania, the south-east and north-west of South Australia, and the Great Southern region in Western Australia have all experienced difficult seasons.
“Among other things this has caused problems with stock water availability,” he said.
“The major sheep regions of Queensland continue to see very tough conditions and the sell-off of sheep continues in that state.
“Even in New South Wales, there are areas where seasonal conditions have been more difficult than expected,” Mr Pattinson said.
“These tough conditions are only being partially offset by good to very good conditions in north-eastern South Australia and parts of New South Wales.”
The new 2015-16 forecast figures of 322mkg is 3pc less than the committee’s previous estimate of 332mkg, made in August this year. The expected decline follows six season of relatively stable wool production of 340-350 mkg greasy, the committee said.
The AWPFC’s final estimate of shorn wool production for the 2014/15 season of 346 mkg is an increase of 1.7pc over the previous season. As noted in August, this increase is in line with, but less than, the increase seen in AWTA tests, ABS wool receivals and AWEX auction offerings for 2014-15, the committee said.
Some of the increase in wool tests, receivals and auction offerings late in the 2014-15 season was attributed to the release of on-farm stocks held over from previous seasons as well as the forward offering of wool held in brokers’ stores and earlier than usual deliveries of recently shorn wool in response to the spike in wool prices in May and June. The committee said it is expected that, as these stocks will not be available in 2015-16, the AWTA test data and ABS receivals data in 2015-16 will fall by more than the decline in production.
The committee said that for the 2015/16 season to November, the AWTA test data showed a reduction in volumes of wool between 20.6-24.5 microns, with smaller declines for finer Merino wool and for crossbred wool. This resulted in a 0.1 micron decline in the mean fibre diameter for Australia to November.
Source: Australian Wool Innovation.