INTEREST in designated non-mulesed wool sales is being sought after a mixed market reaction to the marketing of NM wool in separate sections within Australian auction catalogues.
Sheep Central has been told brokers are averse to marketing non-mulesed wool in separate sections in auction catalogues for fear of being perceived by mulesing growers as giving preferential treatment to NM clips.
Attempts to market non-mulesed wool in this way have led to brokers subsequently losing clips in protest.
Last week Australian Wool Innovation said its online platform WoolQ is seeking expressions of interest to participate in a speciality non-mulesed auction. Subject to interest, the sale will run on selling Week 33, the second week of February.
New South Wales non-mulesed wool grower Paul Favaloro is preparing an application this week for the Australian Wool Exchange’s National Auction Selling Committee to hold a designated non-mulesed wool sale, potentially nationally, in Week 40, commencing 29 March.
Mr Favaloro said several fashion labels have declared timelines to discontinue the purchasing mulesed wool by 2025.
“As there is a significant lack of non-mulesed wool available in Australia, there is a need to increase quantities.
“Potentially as the quantity of wool available for shipping reduces, it may become cost prohibitive to purchase wool from Australia,” he said.
“Buyers have advised me of their purchases from other countries to fill orders of non-mulesed wool.
Designated NM sales would depend on grower support
Mr Favaloro said it was disappointing that the listing of non-mulesed wool in separate catalogue sections was opposed by some mulesing growers.
“It’s just a classic case of how split the industry is.
“Having Week 40 as a designated non-mulesed sale and industry recognised provides brokers involved in this sale the security from any potential loss of grower clientele who do not agree with the non-mulesed concept.”
Mr Favaloro said any premiums being offered will be more visible in a designated non-mulesed wool sale and enable a comparison to prices for similar mulesed wool lines. This would encourage growers to stop mulesing and increase National Wool Declaration use, he said.
A designated sale would allow growers, brokers and buyers to showcase non-mulesed wool, “proving to consumers that the wool industry is serious about their concerns for animals and the environment,” Mr Favaloro said.
“Approval for this sale could set a progressive precedent for the Australian wool industry.
“Ultimately this could become a national event, possibly four times per year, or until there is no need to differentiate.”
Mr Favaloro said he has had support for the designated NM sale concept from brokers he had surveyed.
“They will support it if the growers want their wool to go in that sale.”
Mr Favaloro said AWEX should also start reporting on non-mulesed wool prices on a weekly basis, including a comparison between NM and mulesed lots of similar micon and specifications.
“If that was done, everyone would see what the premiums were on a weekly basis.”
Growers should focus on full declaration – Jemalong
In late November last year, New South Wales wool broker Jemalong Wool sold non-mulesed wool in a separate section in their auction catalogue after it was requested by growers.
Jemalong Wools managing director Rowan Woods said “solid” market for the nine non-mulesed fleece and three NM skirting lines offered in solid market.
“In a week when the market basically held its own, I would say those lots didn’t ease in value and neither did the prices for other fully declared mulesed lots.
“For those few (non-mulesed) lots, their clean value was generally 5-10c/kg above the closing quote (AWEX Micron Price Guide) for their micron.”
But Mr Woods said fine 15-16 micron NM lots sold about 50 cents clean above their MPG.
Mr Woods said the premiums could be due to the fact that they were fully declared and specified, or declared/specified and non-mulesed, or simply better styled lots in a market that didn’t offer a very good selection. He said some of the NM lots also had Authentico accreditation.
However, non-mulesed wool is marketed in the future, Mr Woods urged all growers to fully declare their wool on their clip specis.
“Everyone wants to make sure that we keep pushing toward full declaration and traceability.
“Full declaration is where we have got to go … I wouldn’t like to see people who are doing all the right things with total disclosure and still mulesing, be disadvantaged.
“Australian wool producers do everything they can for the welfare of their sheep,” he said.
“The word welfare should not translate into ‘non-mulesed’.”
Mr Woods said there should not be any discrimination in the auction system against fully declared wool from mulesed sheep.
“Let the market sort that out.”
For more information on WoolQ contact [email protected] or 1800 070 099. Mr Favalor said any non-mulesed grower wanting to offer wool in a designated NM wool auction should contact their broker.