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Aussie wool production expected to fall slightly
Dec '10
The Australian Wool Production Forecasting Committee released its latest forecast for the 2010/11 season at 335 mkg greasy, making a small downward revision of its previous forecast.

Committee Chairman Russell Pattinson said that "the small reduction is due largely to worsening seasonal conditions in Western Australia resulting in lower fleece weights. There has also been a substantial turn-off of sheep from that state, including significant numbers being transported to the eastern states. It is estimated that up to one million sheep (mostly "off-shears") have been transferred from Western Australia to the eastern states in the 2010 calendar year."

"The latest forecast is 5 mkg greasy lower than the Committee's estimate of 340 mkg for the 2010/11 clip in August and is a decline of 2.3 per cent on the 2009/10 shorn wool production level. The number of sheep shorn in 2010/11 is forecast to be 72.4 million head, 900,000 head fewer than the forecast four months ago."

Despite the further downward revision, the forecast is seen as consistent with a slowing in the decline in wool production in Australia.

"Not only is wool production tending to stabilise nationally, but producer intent to retain or increase sheep numbers is apparent from the October producer survey. There are, however, dramatic differences between States as a result of the varied seasonal conditions across Australia."

"Excellent seasonal conditions in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania are offsetting the impact of continuing dry seasonal conditions in Western Australia."

In arriving at its latest forecast the Committee noted the strong year-on-year decline in sheep slaughter and live export figures in all States except Western Australia.

"This has reinforced the view from State Committees that producers are very keen to retain older ewes and ewe lambs for breeding purposes, however, the positive impact of these decisions on wool production is not expected until 2011/12 and beyond."

The Committee has also forecast a change in the micron profile of the Australian wool clip with a reduction in the production of superfine and ultra-fine wool (18.5 microns and finer) together with an increase in broader merino and non-merino wools. The average fibre diameter of the Australian wool clip is now forecast to increase by 0.2 microns to 21.4 microns this season, given the excellent seasonal conditions in south-eastern Australia and the changing structure of the national flock.

The December 2010 Australian Wool Production Forecast Report involves increased data sharing between Meat and Livestock Australia and Australian Wool Innovation as part of a new streamlined forecasting model. It also draws on advice and data from the AWTA Ltd, ABARE, AWEX and ABS, together with the significant input from producers, wool buyers and brokers, and State agency staff through AWPFC State Forecasting Committees.

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Australian Wool Innovation Limited

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