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Australia’s wool production to decline with lower fleece cuts

Sheep Central, April 1, 2016
Study shows shearer training works

Wool production looks set to fall further.

AUSTRALIA’S wool production is forecast to remain lower in 2015-16 – at about 322 million greasy kilograms — and to reduce further the following year.

The Australian Wool Production Forecasting Committee today confirmed its December forecast of a 7 percent decline in shorn wool production in 2015-16 to 322 mkg.

This reflects a combination of both fewer sheep shorn than in 2014-15 and a decline in average fleece weights due to seasonal conditions.

The committee’s first forecast for 2016/17 is for shorn wool production to be 320 mkg greasy.

Wool production estimats April1-16Dry conditions have lowered fleece cuts

Committee chairman Russell Pattinson said as the committee expected in December, the dry seasonal conditions in spring in many major sheep producing areas have resulted in lower average wool cuts per head this season.

“The hot, dry conditions over summer in a number of regions is likely to further exacerbate this during the autumn shearings and has also reportedly resulted in increased turn-off of sheep.

“This is particularly in evidence in Victoria, Tasmania, south-east South Australia and much of the main sheep producing regions in Queensland,” he said.

“Some regions, such as areas in Western Australia, have seen better rainfall mainly from intense summer storms which has relieved stock water shortages but pasture conditions remain a concern.

“In New South Wales, the largest producing state, conditions are mixed, with some regions seeing improvements but others reporting drier conditions and lower fleece weights than a year ago,” Mr Pattinson said.

Shorn wool production by state April1-16

AWTA testing forecast to fall

The 7pc production decline compares with a 5.6pc decline in the weight of wool tested by AWTA in the first eight months of 2015-16. The committee expected the number of AWTA tests to reduce more rapidly in the last quarter of the season compared to the last quarter of 2014-15.

The committee noted that for the 2015-16 season to February, AWTA test data showed a significant increase in the weight of wool between 16.5 micron and finer, only a small decline in the volumes of 17 micron wool but a significant decline in volumes of wool between 21.6 and 23.5 microns. Volumes of other micron categories mostly fell by around 6-9pc. The mean fibre diameter for Australia to February was 21.1 microns, the same as in 2014-15.

Source: Australian Wool Innovation.

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