The Australian Wool Production Forecasting Committee (AWPFC) met on Wednesday, 18th April and decided on its updated forecast of Australian shorn wool production for 2017/18 and its first forecast for 2018/19. These forecasts were released on 20th April.
The updated AWPFC forecast of shorn wool production for 2017/18 of 338 mkg greasy (a slight 0.6% fall compared with 340 mkg produced in 2016/17) is lower than the Committee’s December forecast of 345 mkg. Seasonal conditions have been much drier than the Committee expected in December, which has resulted in a sharp lift in the number of adult sheep slaughtered. For the July-February period, the number of sheep slaughtered was 25% higher this season compared with 2016/17. As well, Autumn shearings suggest that fleece weights are down in most states. This is reflected in AWTA tests in February and March, which were down by 9%.
The Committee’s first forecast for the forthcoming 2018/19 season is that shorn wool production will fall by 1.7% to 333 mkg. This will probably be a surprise to casual observers given that Merino wool prices have been at such high levels for an extended period. While growers are keen to rebuild flocks, the dry seasonal conditions in many major sheep producing regions are preventing this.
Download the full media release AWPFC Media Release 20th April 2018