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Slight improvement in wool production forecast for 2010/11
19
Apr '10
The best seasonal conditions in many parts of eastern Australia for several years, combined with some stabilisation of sheep numbers, are expected to result in higher shorn wool production in 2010/11, according to the latest forecasts from the Australian Wool Production Forecasting Committee released.

In its first forecast for the 2010/11 season, the Committee predicts that shorn wool production in Australia will rise to 350 mkg greasy, largely due to an expected increase in fleece weights given the good seasonal conditions in many parts of eastern Australia. The Committee also revised upwards its forecast for Australian shorn wool production in 2009/10 to 340 mkg greasy, up from its December 2009 forecast of 330 mkg greasy. This compares with a final estimate for 2008/09 of 362 mkg greasy.

“The very good rainfall in many parts of eastern Australia over the past 3 months has lifted optimism among sheep producers and is expected to bring significantly higher fleece weights in 2010/11,” Committee Chairman, Russell Pattinson, said. “This forecast is based on the expectation that seasonal conditions over the crucial autumn period will be normal around Australia.”

The Committee predicts that average fleece weights will rise in 2010/11 by around 5% as a result of these vastly improved seasonal conditions.

“Because of this improved average wool cut per head, the Committee forecasts shorn wool production will increase in 2010/11, despite it expecting sheep numbers to be slightly lower at the start of the 2010/11 season. This is the first year-on-year lift in Australian shorn wool production for 12 years, the last being in 1998/99,” Mr Pattinson continued.

“For the 2009/10 season, the Committee revised its forecast up because the key statistics, notably wool test statistics to the end of March, indicate a smaller than expected fall in production for the year,” Committee Chairman, Russell Pattinson, said.

“Wool production was better over the past three months than the Committee expected in December, reflecting higher sheep shorn numbers than anticipated by the Committee, based on the statistics available from the Australian Bureau of Statistics at the time.”

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released on 9th April its final estimate of the number of sheep in Australia at 1st July 2009 of 72.7 million head. This is 1.2 million head higher than its preliminary estimate from November. It is 5% lower than the sheep numbers at 1st July 2008.

“The Committee believes that sheep producers are trying to retain sheep and rebuild their flocks, which is supported by the latest ABS statistics on sheep disposals for the season. Sheep slaughterings between July and January were down by 21% compared with a year earlier, lamb slaughterings were down 1% and live sheep export were down by 17%, meaning that total sheep disposals for the July to January period were down by 9%,” Mr Pattinson said.

The national Committee drew on advice from the six state committees, each of which includes brokers, growers, private treaty merchants, representatives from state departments of agriculture, and the Australian Wool Testing Authority. Data was also drawn from AWEX, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Meat and Livestock Australia.

“The Committee has also reconfirmed its prediction of an increase in the production of superfine wool in 2009/10, with the share of superfine wool expected to reach 22%, the highest share on record,” Mr Pattinson said. Superfine wool is wool of 18.5 micron and finer.

Australian Wool Innovation Limited

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