Shorn wool production to stabilise in 2008/09

March 26, 2008 - Australia

Improved seasonal conditions has resulted in a modest upward revision to the 2007/08 shorn wool production forecast, and stable production for the 2008/09 season, according to the Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) Production Forecasting Committee.

Total Australian shorn wool production is forecast at 405 mkg greasy in 2007/08, an overall 6% decline from 2006/07. While sheep numbers have been reduced from the 2006 drought, fleece weights have rebounded stronger than expected, particularly in NSW.

A combination of factors has influenced this, such as lower stocking rates after many seasons of below average rainfall and higher feed availability and quality from improved seasonal conditions.

This improved outlook is also expected to flow through into next season, with the Committee expecting Australian shorn wool production to stabilise in 2008/09 at 405 mkg greasy, unchanged year-on-year.

Committee Chairman Russell Pattinson said, “assuming a return to average seasonal conditions across Australia in 2008, fleece weights are forecast to improve further in most states, while sheep shorn numbers will largely stabilise as producers on the east coast either maintain or attempt to rebuild the sheep flock.

“However, offsetting this forecast increase in wool production in eastern Australia in 2008/09 is a decline from Western Australia. In Western Australia, high global grain prices are expected to result in a swing towards cropping - at the expense of livestock,” he said.

The forecasts were assisted by the data from a detailed grower survey of over 1,400 wool producers across Australia, covering production trends, on-farm enterprise mix and flock demographics.

Mr Pattinson said “this survey is a valuable tool to support both the national and state committee’s in the development of production and supply information, and we would like to sincerely thank all growers who participated across Australia.”

A full report of the latest forecasts will be available after 2.00pm Thursday, 27th March on the AWI website at www.wool.com.au/forecasts.

The next meeting of the AWI Production Forecasting Committee is scheduled for Thursday, 3rd July 2008.

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