WOOL production is expected to increase 4.3 per cent this financial year, as excellent seasonal conditions result in widespread lifts in fleece weights.
The Australian Wool Production Forecasting Committee (AWPFC) expect production in 2016-17 will reach 339 million kilograms greasy, a rise partly attributed to an increase retention of sheep.
“… The excellent seasonal conditions in virtually all of the major sheep producing areas of mainland Australia have resulted in higher average wool cuts per head this season,” AWPFC chairman Russell Pattinson said.
“Some states such as Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland have seen the benefit from the improved seasonal conditions throughout the 2016-17 season and fleece weights are even better than the Committee previously expected (in December).
“For other states, notably Victoria, the improved seasonal conditions came later and average wool cuts per head have only increased at shearings from late Spring onwards.”
The increase in shorn wool production follows a 4.7pc rise in the weight of wool tested by Australian Wool Testing Authority (AWTA) in the first nine months of 2016-17 and a 6.4pc increase in the first hand offerings of wool at auction recorded by Australian Wool Exchange.
The Committee attributed the increase in volume offered at auction, particularly ultrafine wool, was partly released from stocks held on-farm and in broker’s stores, in response to the high prices.
Modest production increases are expected to continue with AWPFC’s preliminary forecast of shorn wool production for next season to be 340mkg greasy, a further 0.4pc increase on the 2016-17 forecast.
AWTA test data showed a significant increase in the weight of wool tested between 20 micron and 24m this season to March, although on the flip side, volumes of 17 micron and 18 micron wool declined. This was credited the impact of seasonal conditions.
There has also been a significant fall in the volume of 26-30m wool. The mean fibre diameter for Australia to March was 21m, the same as in 2015-16.