The Australian Wool Production Forecasting Committee met on Wednesday, 16th December 2020 to review its forecast of shorn wool production for the 2020/21 season. The new forecasts were released on Froday, 18th December.
The very good seasonal conditions in large parts of eastern Australia has seen the Committee lift its forecast for this season on the back of better-than-expected fleece weights. The Committee noted that dry conditions have persisted in Queensland and Western Australia, although Western Australia had better rainfall in November. The Committee’s new forecast is for shorn wool production to total 287 mkg greasy this season, up by a slight 1.1% on the 284 mkg that was produced in 2019/20. This new forecast is above the Committee’s August forecast of 279 mkg for 2020/21.
The higher shorn wool production is being driven by higher average wool cuts per head for the season. In August, the Committee predicted that the average wool cuts per head would increase by 2.9% in 2020/21. With the excellent spring rains and pasture growth since then in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia, the Committee now expects that the average cut per head will lift by 7.3% to 4.43 kg/head. This would take the average cut per head back to the levels seen in 2017/18 before the prolonged drought caused much lower wool cuts. The Committee expects that the number of sheep shorn will fall by 5.5%, offsetting much of this improvement in wool cuts. The Committee predicts that the number of sheep shorn will fall to 64.8 million head, reflecting the lower number of sheep at the start of the season and less premature shearing. It also noted that a record number of sheep have been transported across the Nullarbor from Western Australia to the eastern states as producers in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales look to restock. You can read more details of the Committee’s forecast in the Media Release.