Wool’s looking mighty fine

Fleece preparation: Felix Guy skirting at the Blink Bonnie shed at Wollun last week. Photos: Stephanie van Eyk.
Fleece preparation: Felix Guy skirting at the Blink Bonnie shed at Wollun last week. Photos: Stephanie van Eyk.

With shearing in full swing in many sheds across the New England, wool auctions resumed last week after a three-week recess and prices were back a little.

However, Landmark’s northern NSW wool manager Angus Carter said he expects tight supply, particularly in the better quality types, to keep prices firm until Christmas and into next year.

Considering the current drought conditions, he said the sheep and wool coming through the region’s wool sheds around Walcha, Uralla and Armidale were looking good.

“The wool so far this shearing has been pretty sound and it’s been bright and stylish, but the fleeces have been missing a little bit of weight,” Mr Carter said.

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“Strong prices will make up for the lack of weight in the fleeces and most of the Merino fleece lines from clients have all made over 2000c per kilogram [greasy].

“The sheep have also remained well, considering the year; they are reasonably good but not perfect. I don’t think we will get a break in the wool until there’s decent rain and pasture growth, hopefully close to the skin after shearing.”

Surprisingly, adult microns have remained quite stable, and not shown signs of becoming “hungry fine”.

“Microns are pretty similar to last year, maybe just a fraction finer, but I expect the hoggets will go finer,” he said.

Quick work: Shearers and shed staff from shearing contrator Steve Liddle's team.

Quick work: Shearers and shed staff from shearing contrator Steve Liddle's team.

Mr Carter said wool supply right through until Christmas would remain tight as manufacturers experienced “pretty good” cloth sales.

“They are chasing wool and are not carrying any wool in storage,” Mr Cater said. “Wool has a highly positive image thanks to its amazing natural properties and the popularity of next-to-skin woollens.”

When it comes to wool handling and preparation in the shed, Mr Cater said there were very few issues with vegetable matter this year.

“It’s pretty straight forward, there’s not a lot of seed,” he said. “But there is the odd hard jowl that needs to be taken out.

“Keep in mind the finer lines are attracting a bit of a premium, but make sure it’s a reasonably sized line, not just one or two bales.

“Also, keep an eye on dust in the fleeces and make the effort to take out really dusty backs.”

Wool buyer and New England Wool managing director Andrew Blanch agreed more “backs” may need to be removed this season, especially if classers were aiming for spinner types.

“Remove extra short, dusty, crusty backs,” he said.

Mr Blanch said wool was likely to be shorter than the previous season and recommended making a short line with wool around 60-65mm.

“These are still selling well but should not be mixed with the main lines at 75-85mm,” he said.

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