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National wool production recovery checked

Posted by Bestprac on May 01 2012
  • The Australian Wool Production Forecasting Committee has slightly reduced its forecast for 2011/12 to 345mkg, the same level as in 2010/11 and down by 1.4% from the December 2011 forecast.
  • While sheep numbers have risen, the expected improvements in fleece weight have not materialised in all regions.
  • Seasonal conditions continue to be good in many areas and grower confidence remains strong, with recent producer survey results showing a continued intent to increase sheep numbers.
  • The Committee’s first projection for 2012/13 has been set at 350 mkg, driven largely by an expected increase in opening sheep numbers and in the number of sheep to be shorn.

The latest wool production forecast for 2011/12 has come in at 345 million kilograms (mkg), the same as last year, with wool production expected to increase slightly in the 2012/13 season by five mkg.

Wool production gains for 2011/12 across South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania are forecast to be negated by drops in wool production in Western Australia and Queensland, with New South Wales production steady.

The Australian Wool Production Forecasting Committee (AWPFC) reports lower than expected fleece weights as being the key driver in the slightly reduced forecast from the December estimate, although the number of sheep shorn would also appear to have not risen by as much as the lift in opening sheep numbers.

Meeting this week, the AWPFC discussed recent survey results revealing that woolgrower confidence remains strong with most wool producers intending to maintain or to increase sheep numbers. However the Committee also heard of less favourable seasonal conditions in some southern parts of the country which, when coupled with the significant impact of wild dogs in pastoral and alpine areas, may hamper any significant recovery in wool production.

Chairman of the AWPFC, Russell Pattinson, says that while overall production will remain at levels equivalent to 2010/11, there is some good news coming through in the latest forecast.

“Yields are up so the quality of the wool coming through is good, we just haven’t seen the greasy fleece weight increase as much as initially expected,” Mr Pattinson said.

The AWPFC has also made their first forecast for the 2012/13 season and has forecast an increase in wool production by 1.4 per cent to 350mkg.

The increase in wool production for 2012/13 is expected to be largely driven by an increase in opening sheep numbers as woolgrowers seek to increase their wool flocks.

Fleece weights are anticipated to remain stable. “While many parts of the country are experiencing good seasons, the Committee is concerned about the autumn outlook for parts of Tasmania, South Australia and Victoria,” Mr Pattinson added.

Table 1: Summary of wool production estimates and forecasts for Australia

Parameter 2010/11 Estimate 2011/12 forecast Change YOY 2012/13 1st forecast Chnage YOY
Opening sheep numbers
(million head
70.8 74.3 5.0% 77.4 4.2%
Sheep numbers shorn
(million head)
76.2 77.9 2.2% 80.5 3.3%
Average cut per head
4.5 4.4 -2.2% 4.4 0.0%
Shorn wool production
(mkg greasy)
345 345 0.0% 350 1.4%
Note: totals may not add due to rounding.

Table 2: Total greasy wool production by state - 2010/11 and 2011/12 forecasts

2010/11 final estimate 14.4 123.4 78.0 9.7 49.3


2011/12 December forecast 14.3 123.8 84.4 12.0 55.3 60.7 350
2011/12 April forecast 13.9 122.9 81.0 10.1 55.3 61.2 245
YOY Change % -3.5% -0.4% 3.8% 4.1% 12.2% -12.6% 0.0%
Note: totals may not add due to rounding.

The National Committee drew on advice from the six state committees, each of which includes brokers, growers, 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 and Meat and Livestock Australia.

A full report of the latest forecasts will be available from Tuesday 1st of May at

Released by:
Marius Cuming
Manager Corporate Communications
Mobile: 0400 305 716

Last changed: May 02 2012



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