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Wool production remains low

12
Dec '08
Disappointing rainfalls during spring across south-eastern Australia, following a dry winter and autumn, will mean that Australian wool production will remain low in 2008/09, according to the latest forecasts from the Australian Wool Production Forecasting Committee.

The Committee's new forecast for Australian shorn wool production this season is 370 mkg greasy, slightly lower than its forecast in September. This is a 7.5% fall on the Committee's final estimate of shorn wool production for 2007/08 of 400 mkg greasy.

Committee Chairman, Russell Pattinson, said “Despite excellent rainfall in the northern half of Australia over spring and in Western Australia, this has come too late to offset the lower sheep numbers and a further decline in production in Victoria, South Australia and the southern half of NSW which saw poor rainfall during spring.”

The significant sell-off of sheep seen across Australia in 2007/08, particularly in autumn, meant that Australia had significantly less sheep at the start of this season. The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates that there were 79.2 million head at the start of the 2008/09 season (down 7.5%).

“The sell-off of sheep continued over winter, with sheep slaughterings across Australia up by 10% in the September quarter, due to the dry seasonal conditions and concerns about feed availability. This has meant that, with fewer sheep for shearing, production in Australia will be lower than the Committee expected in September.”

“On a more positive note, the widespread rainfall in November will encourage improved summer feed and water supplies in many parts of Australia which may help slow or even halt the sell-off of sheep.”

Production is forecast to fall in every state in 2008/09, with the largest declines compared with 2007/08 expected in the south-east states of Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia.

The next meeting of the AWI Production Forecasting Committee is scheduled for Thursday, 26th March 2008, when the Committee will release its revised forecast for 2008/09 and its first forecast for 2009/10.

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