FEWER sheep are expected to be shorn in Australia in the 2015-16 financial year, leading to a 4.3 percent decline in shorn wool production to 332 million kilograms.
The Australian Wool Production Forecasting Committee today said its 2015-16 wool production forecast reflected a 3.7pc fall in shorn sheep numbers, due to the continued high turn-off of sheep and lambs in 2014/15.
Average fleece weights are also expected to be 0.7pc lower in 2015-16, than in 2014/15.
The committee estimates shorn wool production for 2014/15 at 347 mkg, up by 1.8pc from 2013/14. This is the result of higher fleece weights in 2014/15 more than offsetting a 1.3pc decline in shorn sheep numbers.
Fall in fleece weights reflects difficult seasons
Committee chairman, Russell Pattinson, said seasonal conditions are quite mixed, but the fall in average fleece weights reflects difficult seasons in several regions, including the western part of Victoria, south-east South Australia, Tasmania, northern New South Wales and most of Queensland.
The AWPFC said the 1.8pc increase in shorn wool production to 347 mkg in 2014-15 is in line with, but less than, the increase seen in AWTA tests, ABS wool receivals and AWEX auction offerings for 2014/15.
Increased wool tests as old wool sold
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. The overall increase in shorn wool production in 2014/15 is also a result of the improved fleece weights which partly offset the decline in the number of sheep shorn last season.
The committee noted that the AWTA wool test data for the 2014/15 season showed a reduction in volumes of wool 17.5 microns and finer, but an increase in the volumes of 18-20 microns, 22-23 microns and broad (27 microns and broader) wool. This resulted in a 0.1 micron increase in the mean fibre diameter for Australian wool.
Source: Australian Wool Innovation.