The latest data on wool tests from AWTA shows a sharp drop in the weight of wool tested in September compared with September 2017. For Australia, the volume of wool tested were down by 19.2% compared with September last year. While the volumes in September 2017 was up 9% year-on-year, the aggregate for the month this year is well below any year back at least to 2011/12. There were very large drops in wool tested in New South Wales, Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland, with a decline in tests in Tasmania and a very small decline in Victoria. For the first three months this season, the weight of wool tested was down by 11.3% for Australia. This is much more than the current Australian Wool Production Forecasting Committee’s forecast of -5.7%. The Committee noted in its release in August that “How the season progresses over the next couple of months will be very important for overall production levels this season.” Disappointingly, drought conditions have continued throughout much of New South Wales, Queensland and parts of both South Australia and Victoria. As well, production in September would have been adversely affected by the poor seasonal conditions in the previous 9-12 months.
There is a major difference in the change in wool tested in different micron categories. There has been a massive 39% drop in the weight of wool tested between 21 and 24 micron as a result of the drought, which has hit many of the large producing regions of this wool, including the pastoral areas of South Australia and New South Wales and the central west region of New South Wales. 29 micron and broader wool also recorded a 28% drop in the weight of wool tested (although from a much smaller volume) and 25 to 28 micron wool saw a 13% decline in the weight of wool tested.
Further details, including a table sowing the weight of wool tested by state for the July to September period from 2009/10 to 2018/19 and a chart showing the change in the weight of wool tested by micron range are contained within the NCWSBA Weekly Newsletter for the week ending 5th October 2018, available to NCWSBA members.