SOUTH Australia is the only state expected to increase its total wool production in the coming year.
High sheep slaughter rates have led to a downgrading in the wool production estimate for Australia in 2014-15.
The Australian Wool Production Forecasting Committee’s second forecast for 2014-15 has revised shorn wool production to 328 million kilograms, down 3.7 percent from 2013-14 levels.
The committee said the decrease reflected the reduction in sheep numbers due high slaughter rates in 2013-14 even though average fleece weights are expected to increase marginally.
But the slight rise in wool cut in South Australia – 1.9 percent — is not expected to offset an estimated decline in Australia’s total wool production, though nationally, average fleece weight is expected to rise marginally.
The committee also finalised the 2013/14 shorn wool production estimate at 341mkg, in line with ABS wool receival data and AWTA test data.
Committee chairman, Russell Pattinson said the fall in shorn wool production reflects a decline in the 2014/15 opening sheep numbers and the expected number of sheep to be shorn, which were affected by the high sheep slaughter rates in 2013/14.
“Queensland and northern New South Wales shorn wool production is expected to be the most affected due to the ongoing tough seasonal conditions, while South Australia has seen a recovery as a result of the good season in that state, he said. Regionally, the expected declines in 2014/15 wool production for New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania, outweigh the expected increase in South Australia.
AuctionsPlus market operation manager Tony Benson said substantial numbers of Queensland sheep were moved into South Australia this year, particularly from the drier areas.
“But I am not too sure these movements will account for a noticeable increase wool production and some of those sheep ended up for the export market.”
He said any increased in wool production in South Australia would be assisted a higher cut per head due to the season, a resurgence of interest in the Merino as a dual purpose breed suited to the state and the resilient market for middle micron wool — 20-23 microns — compared to fine wool.