The Australian Wool Production Forecasting Committee met on Wednesday, 20th November to review its forecast of shorn wool production for the 2019/20 season. The Committee decided to move its meeting forward from December given the continued dry and drought conditions across many of the major sheep and wool producing regions. The dry conditions have resulted in a larger decline in wool volumes tested and offered at auction than the Committee had previously expected.
The Committee’s new forecast is for shorn wool production to total 272 mkg greasy this season, down by 9.2% on the 300 mkg that was produced in 2018/19. For those interested in historical precedence, this is the lowest level of shorn wool production in Australia since the 1923/24 season when shorn wool production was 268 mkg greasy.
In August, the Committee predicted that shorn wool production would fall by 5% this season based on a return to more normal Spring rainfall and rain falling in areas that are in drought. This has not eventuated for many regions, with below average rainfall in the three months from August to October in almost all of the major wool growing regions in Australia. This has resulted in lower fleece weights in many states, with the exception of some areas of Victoria. Overall, the Committee expects the national average wool cut per head to fall this season by 1.7% to 4.06 kg/head. This is the lowest average at least since 1981/82 (when the AWPFC’s data series begins). However, the biggest contributor to the decline in shorn wool production is from a sharp drop in sheep shorn numbers. This is predicted to decline by 7.5% to 67.1 million head.
Full details, including a chart showing the trends in sheep shorn numbers and shorn wool production in Australia since the start of the 2000s, are provided in this week’s Weekly Newsletter. Available to NCWSBA members.