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Wool production expected to decline
Jul '08
Total Australian wool production is forecast to decline slightly in the 2008/09 season, despite expected higher output in Queensland and NSW.

For 2008/09, shorn wool production is forecast at 385 mkg greasy - a 4% decline from 2007/08. High global grain prices and continuing dry conditions in some parts of eastern Australia are contributing to a decline in sheep numbers, and hence lower overall production.

Committee Chairman Russell Pattinson said, “We are expecting a rebound in Queensland wool production and a modest rise in NSW production in 2008/09, but unfortunately, this will not be enough to counterbalance the reduced production in the other states.”

“Once again, parts of eastern Australia have started the pasture growing season with rainfall well below normal. The most extreme example of this is Tasmania, with the southern region and east coast continuing to be ravaged by one of the worst droughts in living memory,” he said.

A lack of autumn rainfall in Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and many parts of NSW has increased sheep turn-off for slaughtering and live sheep export, while lamb slaughterings have been remarkably robust for much of 2007/08.

In Western Australia, high global grain prices have provided a strong incentive for farmers to sow additional winter crop at the expense of sheep grazing.

Committee Chairman Russell Pattinson said, “All these factors combined have added downward pressure to Australian sheep numbers over the course of the 2007/08 season. As such, we have fewer sheep in Australia at the start of the 2008/09 season compared with 12 months ago, which will result in fewer sheep available for shearing over the next 12 months.”

A full report of the latest forecasts will be available after 2.00pm Wednesday, 9th July on the AWI website. The next meeting of the AWI Production Forecasting Committee is scheduled for Thursday, 25th September 2008.

The latest estimate for Australian shorn wool production in 2007/08 of 400 mkg greasy, was revised lower by 5 mkg greasy compared with the March 2008 meeting. This revision occurred after a review of the latest AWTA test data for the entire 2007/08 season.

Total Australian shorn wool production for 2008/09 is forecast at 385 mkg greasy. State by state, production forecasts are:
• NSW – 139 mkg (higher by 1%)
• Queensland – 21 mkg (higher by 7%)
• Victoria – 78 mkg (lower by 4%)
• Tasmania – 8 mkg (down by 14%)
• Western Australia – 83 mkg (down by 10%)
• South Australia – 56 mkg (lower by 5%)

In developing the forecasts the Committee reviewed the latest available statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), ABARE, the Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX), the Australian Wool Testing Authority (AWTA) and the national AWI/Department of WA Agriculture woolgrower survey with responses from 1400 woolgrowers. The Committee also drew on information from the state sub-committees about conditions and trends in the various regions of each state.

The AWI Production Forecasting Committee comprises woolgrowers, wool brokers, exporters, processors, private treaty merchants and representatives from AWEX, AWTA, ABARE, ABS, MLA, DAWA and The Woolmark Company.

Click here to view State and National Shorn Wool Production over the last 5 seasons:

Australian Wool Innovation Limited

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