Interview with David Ritchie

David Ritchie
David Ritchie

What are the innovations in the woolen industries that are supposed to bring a change in the global market?

This is not an area of expertise for the Australian Council of Wool Exporters and Processors. This work is conducted, or funded, by Australian Wool Innovation. Such work covers sheep breeding, sheep health, predator control, pasture management and environmental / sustainability issues.

While exporting wool what are the main points that need to be taken care of?

Wool buying and exporting is a mature business that has been in place in Australia for over 200 years. The main factor to be attended to is for wool growers to ensure that their wool is well “classed” after shearing. Wool varies in quality both on a sheep and between sheep. Wool “classing” is the skilled amalgamation of the various forms of wool into a number of uniform parcels which are suitable for sale. This provides wool buyers with the greatest opportunity to buy wool which meets the wool requirements of Australia’s processor clients. There are no Australian Government requirements for exporting wool. However, the Governments in Australia’s customer countries normally require that a Health Certificate issued by the Australian Government which states the wool is from sheep that are free of certain diseases. This is not a problem, as Australia is free of the diseases which the customer countries are concerned about.

Which region is considered the most favorable for the export of Marino wool from Australia?

Wool used to be grown in all parts of Australia, except in the area known as the Northern Territory. Today, most wool is grown in the southern half of Australia. The State of New South Wales is the biggest wool producing area. As over 95% of Australia wool is exported, wool is exported from all wool producing regions in Australia. The greatest specialization occurs with exports to Italy, Australia’s third largest export destination after China and India. Italy specializes in importing Australian superfine wool. 86% of Italy’s wool imports this season are of 19 microns and finer in diameter. Superfine wool is best grown in areas which have reliable and good rainfall. There are a numbers of areas that are well known for their Superfine wool production. These include (but are not restricted to) the New England, Mudgee and Goulburn-Yass regions in New South Wales, the Western Districts of Victoria; and Tasmania. India specializes in the not quite so fine Merino wool. 66% of their wool imports were from 20 to 23 microns. This wool is grown in most parts of Australia. 84% of Australia’s wool exports to China were less than 24 microns.
Published on: 03/04/2013

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of

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