Despite the declines in wool production and flock numbers, AWEX chief executive officer Mark Grave said more than 19,000 classers were now registered in Australia, during the current triennium registration period.
Australia now has 19,002 classers with 15 months to go in the current triennium, he said.
“We literally passed it (the 19,000 mark) today.”
“Given the decline in wool production, recent poor market conditions and some of the negative commentary over the past few years, for woolclasser registration to have reached this milestone, is a positive story for the wool industry,” Mr Grave said.
Professionally classed wool is preferred
Only wool prepared by a registered woolclasser is eligible to receive a ‘P’ certificate, which is highly sought after and preferred by wool buyers.
“The Australian wool industry gained its reputation by producing the best prepared wool in the world on the back of some strategic foresight of the industry leaders over 50 years ago.
“Australia has been able to differentiate its wool based on quality, preparation, skills and training,” he said.
Although Australia had 20,573 classers registered in the last triennium period and despite a decline in the number of professional classers of 5.45 percent and in owner-classers by 9.3pc, Mr Grave said there was certainly enough classers to prepare the clip.
“The interest in gaining or maintaining that woolclassing skill has held up, which is great.”
Annual rate of registration is high
Mr Grave said the rate of classers registration in the past two years, at about 350-450 per annum, is the highest in a decade.
Mr Grave said some of the benefits of woolclassing include:
• Adding significant value to a wool clip,
• Allowing buyers to buy wool with confidence,
• Providing wool growers with a skill to better understand and improve their product, and
• Providing the opportunity to use this skill as a source of income and further experience.
“Australia is the envy of all other wool producing countries,” Mr Grave said.
“Other countries have tried to develop their own woolclasser program but they have never been able to match the quality and reach of Australia’s.”
Australia is fortunate to have available the expertise of dedicated and highly skilled woolclasser trainers who make woolclasser education possible, he said.
“This is an important milestone and one that should be recognised and supported.”
To find out more about woolclassing, woolclasser training and/or registration contact AWEX, your local TAFE, RIST or nearest registered training organisation.