The Australian Wool Production Forecasting Committee (AWPFC) met on Wednesday to review its forecast for shorn wool production in Australia for 2019/20. The new forecasts were released today and show that the Committee now predicts that shorn wool production will be 285 mkg greasy, down 5% on the estimate for 2018/19 (which is 300 mkg greasy). The main driver for the decline in shorn wool production is a lower number of sheep shorn as a result of the increased turn-off of adult sheep in response to drought in key regions, notably in New South Wales, and record prices for sheep for slaughter. As well, lamb marking rates are reported to be low in the drought-hit areas, reducing the ability for wool growers to lift flock numbers.
The Committee expects that shorn wool production in New South Wales (NSW) will drop by 11.4% in 2019/20. This comes after a 21.2% decline in 2018/19. As a result, NSW’s share of Australian wool production will fall from 37% in 2017/18 down to just 31% in 2019/20. NSW remains the largest wool producing state in Australia, but its gap over Victoria and Western Australia has narrowed significantly. The decline in NSW is due to the prolonged dry and drought conditions in many regions of the state which are showing no real signs of abating. In contrast western Victoria, south-east South Australia and Western Australia are all experiencing more normal seasonal conditions in recent months. As a result, shorn wool production in those states will be similar to or only a little less than in 2018/19. This has moderated the decline for Australia in total. Further details of the AWPFC’s estimates for 2018/19 and forecasts for 2019/20 are given in the Media Release available on www.wool.com