Shorn wool production in 2017-18 will be 340 million kilograms (mkg) greasy, predicts the Australian Wool Production Forecasting Committee (AWPFC). This is the same as the 2016-17 estimates, a 4.7 per cent rise over the 90-year low recorded in 2015-16. The rise was due to higher wool cuts per head after the excellent seasonal conditions in 2016/17.
Seasonal conditions in some regions, including much of Victoria and the south-east of South Australia, are reported to be very good, but other areas, including parts of Western Australia, the western division of New South Wales and regions in Queensland, have been dry, according to AWPFC chairman Russell Pattinson.
The season average wool cut per head is expected to slide by 1.2 per cent in 2017-18. While fleece weights in Spring are likely to be good, there is likely to be a moderation in the average wool cuts per head in some areas as the season progresses, a recent press release by not-for-profit Australian Wool Innovation Ltd quoted Pattinson as saying.
The run of high Merino wool prices and strong lamb price levels also appear to be encouraging producers to retain sheep despite high mutton prices, the release said.
The mean fibre diameter for Australia in 2016/17 was steady at 21.0 microns, the same as in 2015/16, according to the committee.
The committee based the estimates on inputs from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, wool exporters, the Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX), the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), the Australian Wool Testing Authority Ltd (AWTA), Meat and Livestock Australia and the six state committees comprising growers, brokers, merchants and representatives from state agriculture departments.
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