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Australian wool production to ease in 2015/16

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The Australian Wool Production Forecasting Committee (AWPFC) has maintained its forecast for the 2015/16 season at 332 million kilograms greasy, a 4.3% decline on the estimate of 347 mkg for the 2014/15 season.

Committee Chairman, Russell Pattinson commented that “there is expected to be a reduction in the number of sheep shorn in 2015/16 after the ongoing high turn-off of sheep and lambs last season. At the same time, average fleece weights across Australia will be slightly lower than in 2014/15. Seasonal conditions are quite mixed, but the fall in average fleece weights reflects difficult seasons in several regions, including the western part of Victoria, south-east South Australia, Tasmania, northern New South Wales and most of Queensland.”

The AWPFC has also estimated shorn wool production for the 2014/15 season at 347 mkg, an increase of 1.8% over the previous season. This increase is in line with, but less than, the increase seen in AWTA tests, ABS wool receivals and AWEX auction offerings for 2014/15. Some of the increase in wool tests, receivals and auction offerings late in the 2014/15 season was attributed to the release of on-farm stocks held over from previous seasons as well as the forward offering of wool held in brokers’ stores and earlier than usual deliveries of recently shorn wool in response to the spike in wool prices in May and June.

The overall increase in shorn wool production in 2014/15 is also a result of the improved fleece weights which partly offset the decline in the number of sheep shorn last season.

The Committee noted that the AWTA wool test data for the 2014/15 season showed a reduction in volumes of wool 17.5 microns and finer, but an increase in the volumes of 18-20 microns, 22-23 microns and broad (27 microns and broader) wool. This resulted in a 0.1 micron increase in the mean fibre diameter for Australia.

The National Committee drew on advice from the six State Committees, each of which includes growers, brokers, private treaty merchants, representatives from State Departments of Agriculture, and the Australian Wool Testing Authority.

Data and input was also drawn from AWEX, wool exporters, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, ABARES, AWTA and Meat and Livestock Australia.

The full forecast report is available on the AWI website at


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