Soaring wool prices welcome

By Jamie Lowe

The local wool industry continues to soar on the back of record high prices.

The Southern indicator wool price is just shy of $20/kg ‘clean’, continuing the remarkable rise in the market.

Seig Sheep & Wool owner Amelia Seignior said prices are the highest they’ve ever been for 20 micron wool and coarser.

‘‘Around 20 to 21 micron wool, which is what most wool growers in the Riverina are producing, is getting up to 2250c per kilogram clean, so you could be getting around 1500 to 1600c per kilo greasy, which is the price you get in your pocket,’’ she said.

‘‘So if you cut about seven kilograms (of wool) off a sheep, that’s around $100 plus per head, which is a phenomenal result.

‘‘It’s a great time to be in the industry and it’s great to see the farmers getting a good return on their sheep and wool.

‘‘Most farmers have had to supplementary feed their sheep with grain or hay over the past five to six months as we’ve had very little rain, which means they have had to spend more money, but they’re still getting a great return.

‘‘Hopefully the increase in wool prices will entice farmers to diversify and get back into sheep and wool.’’

The driving force behind the high prices is the lack of good quality Merino wool in the apparel market.

Wool is becoming more fashionable in countries like America, Europe and the Chinese domestic markets, with the main use in high performance sportswear, under garment clothing, double-face fabrics alongside the traditional garments like suits.

‘‘A lot of farmers have been shearing every six to eight months so there’s now a higher demand for a longer staple wool,’’ Ms Seignior said.

‘‘In September-October the price may come back as supply increases but I can’t see the price dropping too dramatically any time soon.

‘‘The lamb price is also high. The sheep industry in general is going strong.’’