The Australian Wool Production Forecasting Committee (AWPFC) confirmed its forecast of shorn wool production for the 2015/16 season at 322 million kilograms greasy, a 7.0% decline on the 2014/15 season, as predicted at its meeting in December.
Committee Chairman, Russell Pattinson said as the Committee expected in December, the dry seasonal conditions in Spring in many major sheep producing areas have resulted in lower average wool cuts per head this season.
“The hot, dry conditions over summer in a number of regions is likely to further exacerbate this during the autumn shearings and has also reportedly resulted in increased turn-off of sheep. This is particularly in evidence in Victoria, Tasmania, south-east South Australia and much of the main sheep producing regions in Queensland.
“Some regions, such as areas in Western Australia, have seen better rainfall mainly from intense summer storms which has relieved stock water shortages but pasture conditions remain a concern. In New South Wales, the largest producing state, conditions are mixed, with some regions seeing improvements but others reporting drier conditions and lower fleece weights than a year ago.”
The 7% decline compares with a 5.6% decline in the weight of wool tested by AWTA in the first eight months of 2015/16. The Committee expects that AWTA tests will fall away more rapidly in the last quarter of the season compared to the last quarter of 2014/15.
The AWPFC’s first forecast of shorn wool production for the coming 2016/17 season is for production to be 320 mkg greasy.
The Committee noted that for the 2015/16 season to February, AWTA test data showed a significant increase in the weight of wool between 16.5 micron and finer, only a small decline in the volumes of 17 micron wool but a significant decline in volumes of wool between 21.6 and 23.5 microns. Volumes of other micron categories mostly fell by around 6%-9%. The mean fibre diameter for Australia to February was 21.1 microns, the same as in 2014/15.