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Mohair sales prices in Australia exceed wool

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Mohair produced by Angora goats hits a new Australian sale record, now worth more than wool Mohair producers across Australia are relishing a worldwide shortage of the fibre, which has helped to drive up their prices.

A new Australian record for the sale average, $24.52 a kilogram, was set at the Australian Mohair Marketing Organisation’s (AMMO’s) auction. This eclipsed the previous record set in 2015 by almost $4. It also means that mohair is currently worth more than wool. The Australian Wool Exchange Eastern Market Indicator is currently sitting just above $20 a kilogram.

At the AMMO June auction at Narrandera in southern New South Wales, competition for the 155 bales (28,138 kilograms) of the fibre was strong, with four buyers paying up to $42.50 greasy ($49.50 clean) for the finest mohair from Angora kids.

AMMO warehouse manager Craig Clancy, who classed the mohair, said the buoyant price was due to reduced international production and increased demand from China and Europe. “There was strong competition from all buyers across all types and we could have sold two or three times what we had,” Mr Clancy said.

Mr Clancy said that global production was down as farmers in South Africa and the United States were not running as many Angora goats as they used to. “Land use has changed and there are a lot more animal parks for hunting in South Africa and more oilfields in the US,” he said. “It’s a very good time to be an Australian mohair grower.”The opportunity is there to expand for existing growers or for new growers to come into the industry — the opportunities are endless.”

At the June auction, 140 kilograms of the finest mohair featured in the top price bale. Eight growers from three states, New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland, pooled their finest kid fleeces for the top priced bale. The bale was bought by New England Wool for an Italian processor and will be used for weaving in high-end fashion garments — primarily men’s suiting.

Mr Clancy said the end user was looking for mohair that was soft to handle, had a staple length of at least 125 millimetres, and a low micron. The top priced bale had a micron of 23.9.

Three other buyers secured mohair at the sale, with the bulk heading to South Africa to be processed for knitting to be used in items such as upholstery and carpet.

Mohair vs Merino – Angora goats are shorn twice a year and young kids generally cut a fleece of about 1.5 kilograms. ‘Shearing twice a year gives producers two income streams from the one animal,’ Mr Clancy said. ‘Angora goats were fairly easy to handle and run as they were smaller than sheep. Their bodyweight isn’t as heavy as sheep, so they are easier to move physically,” he said.
Goats have a reputation for foraging and eating woody weeds. “They do well browsing and on pasture and like a selection of both,” Mr Clancy said. Angoras are suited to small and large-scale landholding in most regions across Australia. “We would like to see more larger producers running Angora goats, so mohair production is bolstered,” Mr Clancy said.

Sue and Charlie Bell are mohair growers at Candelo in the Bega Valley in south-east New South Wales. They first forayed into Angora goats 20 years ago when they received a “freebie” at their local show. “We enjoyed her and got some wethers and our love of Angoras started,” Mrs Bell said.

Fast forward two decades and they are now running 300 Angora goats and growing some of the finest mohair in the country. Some of their kid fleece was in the top priced bale that’s heading to Italy. The Bells are pleased the average price being paid for mohair is more than double what it was a decade ago.

“Kid fleece hit a high of more than $60 a kilogram [in 2011], but the average price was only about $10. Now the price across the board has lifted and that’s due to new market demand,” Mr Bell said. “It’s a unique fibre and demand from Asia is growing, in particular from Japan, for superior mohair grown in Australia,” he said.

The Bells have a contract with an Italian mill for their superior mohair for $58 a kilogram. Currently 85 per cent of their goat herd is producing superior fleeces. They hope to lift this to 100 per cent. Contrary to their reputation as troublemakers, goats require similar management to sheep, according to the Bells’ experience.

“We have the same fencing you have for sheep and we probably do drench for worms a bit more as we are near the coast,” Mr Bells said. “We don’t have any issue with them getting out of fences. They are not that bad.” In fact, the Bells wish they had more goats to handle. “But 12 months ago, I wished I has more cattle, when they were worth good money,” Mr Bell sai

Source: ABC News

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