Australian Shorn wool production moves higher
The Australian Wool Production Forecasting Committee (AWPFC) has updated its forecast of shorn wool production for the 2021/22 season. This second forecast is for production of 310 million kilograms (Mkg) greasy, a 5.2% increase on the 2020/21 estimated production of 294 Mkg greasy. This is an upward revision from the committee’s 305 Mkg forecast in April.
Committee Chairman, Russell Pattinson said that “Widespread rainfall across many wool producing regions is expected to generate high pasture availability in Spring when soil temperatures increase. Breeding ewes are reported to be in good condition in key regions with lambing and marking rates both expected to rise on the back of high scanning percentages.”
The number of sheep shorn is forecast to increase by 3.3% to 69.0 million head. Australian Bureau of Statistics sheep and lamb turn off data to the end of March 2021 show a 19% decrease in total turnoff compared with the same period in 2019/20. The Committee expects this decreased turnoff to continue as sheep producers seek to rebuild their flocks. The June 2021 AWI/MLA Wool and Sheepmeat Survey found that 55% of producers intend to maintain breeding ewe numbers while 37% of producers intend to increase numbers.
Nevertheless, the national flock remains at historically low levels, which will continue to constrain recovery in shorn wool production in the short term. Favourable seasonal conditions in most key wool producing regions are expected to increase average cut per head by 2.3% to 4.54 kg greasy.
The Committee estimates shorn wool production for the 2020/21 season at 294 Mkg greasy, this is a 3.7% increase on 284 Mkg greasy for the 2019/20 season. The positive adjustment from the April forecast reflects the favourable end to the 2020/21 season and the impact that it had on per head production (+6.8%) compared to the 2019/20 season. AWTA test data for the 2020/21 season reflect this and show increases in mean fibre diameter (20.8 microns, up 0.3), staple length (88.3 mm, up 2.7) and staple strength (34.0 N/ktex, up 1.5).
The National Committee drew on advice from the six State Committees, each of which includes growers, brokers, private treaty merchants, sheep pregnancy scanners, representatives from State Departments of Agriculture and the Australian Wool Testing Authority. Data and input were also drawn from AWEX, wool exporters, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, ABARES, and Meat and Livestock Australia.
The state and national Committees will next meet in mid-December 2021.
The full forecast report is available on the AWI website at www.wool.com/forecasts