Data from AWEX shows that the premiums paid for non-mulesed Merino wool at auction in 2018/19 remained at high levels despite the overall record price levels paid for wool in 2018/19. There were also premiums paid for non-mulesed Crossbred wool of 27 micron and broader.
On average in 2018/19 there were premiums of 38 to 53 cents/kg for non-mulesed Merino wool of between 16 and 19 microns. For 20 micron wool, the average premium was 20 cents/kg in 2018/19. The sharp drop in the volumes of 21 and 22 micron wool offered at auction in 2018/19 due the drought meant that there was insufficient data to provide statistically significant average price differences for these micron categories. The highest average premium paid in 2018/19 was for 17 micron wool, which recorded a premium of 53 cents/kg on average over the season. The reason for these solid premiums for wool from sheep that have not been mulesed is well-known. There is a growing demand for this wool from retailers and throughout the global industry, including from mills in China. It is a market-driven premium confirming the sentiment expressed by the industry, including most recently at the IWTO Congress in Venice in April.
There are only small premiums of 2-3 cents for Merino wool that is from sheep which have been mulesed with some form of analgesic. There are also variable, but higher, premiums for wool declared from properties that have ceased mulesing. Finally, wool that is sold at auction that does not have an NWD attracted an average discount of between 2 and 18 cents compared with mulesed wool. It is well worth growers completing an NWD even if their sheep have been mulesed.
Full details including a chart showing the average price difference for between 16 micron to 22 micron (Merino wool) and 27 micron to 30 micron (Crossbred wool) from 2013/14 in 2018/19 is contained in the Weekly Newsletter. Available to NCWSBA members.