PREMIUMS paid for Australian Merino wool declared as coming from non-mulesed sheep have more than doubled since 2016-17, according to figures released by the Australian Wool Exchange.
AWEX senior market analyst Lionel Plunkett said the average premium for 20 micron and finer fleece wool declared as non-mulesed in 2017-18 was 43 cents, compared to an estimated premium of 19 cents for similar wool sold in 2016-17.
Mr Plunkett said the premiums for non-mulesed wool are becoming more consistent at auctions and this was tying in with buyer reports of more enquiry for non-mulesed wool.
The estimated premiums for wool declared as coming from sheep mulesed with pain relief were about 5c/kg for 17-20 micron fleece lines in 2017-18, up only slightly from 2016-17. However, for 16 micron PR wool, the premium averaged 24c/kg in 2017-18, up from 5c/kg in 2016-17.
The 2017-18 statistics from AWEX on the mulesing status of first-hand wool offered for the full 2017/18 season also show there has been a lift of about 20 percent in the number of bales declared as either non-mulesed (NM) or mulesed with pain relief (PR).
In the National Council of Wool Selling Brokers July newsletter, executive director Chris Wilcox said the increase took the share of NM wool to 11.5pc, well above the 9.9pc share recorded in 2016/17. The share of PR wool lifted to 31.6pc.
Mr Wilcox said there was a 9pc drop in wool declared as ceased mulesed (CM), which may be due to a change in definition for properties to be eligible to be declared as ceased mulesed. The definition is now: Wool from sheep where mulesing has ceased on the property. No lambs born on this property in the last 12 months have been mulesed. No purchased sheep are mulesed.
The number of bales with a Blank NWD increased by 2pc in 2017-18. As a result, the volume of first hand offered wool with an NWD was up by 11pc for the season. The volume of wool without an NWD fell by 9pc. The share of wool with an NWD lifted to 65.9pc, well ahead of the 61.2pc with an NWD in 2016/17.
Mr Wilcox said the increase in the use of the NWD over recent years has been striking. In 2013-14 only 43.3pc of all wool offered in Australia had an NWD. The share has increased by 20pc-plus in just four years.
Click here to see a National Wool Declaration bale analysis.