The Australian Wool Production Forecasting Committee (AWPFC) has recently revised the forecast of shorn wool production for the 2016/17 season to 339 million kilograms greasy, a 4.3% increase for the 2015/16 season and slightly higher than forecast at its December meeting.
As said by the Committee Chairman, Russell Pattinson “as the Committee expected in December, the excellent seasonal conditions in virtually all of the major sheep producing areas of mainland Australia have resulted in higher average wool cuts per head this season. Some states such as Western Australia, South Australia, and Queensland have seen the benefit from the improved seasonal conditions throughout the 2016/17 season and fleece weights are even better than the Committee previously expected. For other states, notably Victoria, the improved seasonal conditions came later and average wool cuts per head have only increased at shearings from late Spring onwards.
The 4.3% forecast increase in shorn wool production compares with a 4.7% increase in the weight of wool tested by AWTA in the first nine months of 2016/17 and a 6.4% increase in the first-hand offerings of wool at auction recorded by AWEX. The Committee believes that some wool, particularly ultrafine wool, has been released from the stocks held on-farm and also from stocks held in broker’s stores in response to the high prices.
The AWPFC’s first forecast of shorn wool production for the coming 2017/18 season is for production to be 340 mkg greasy. This is a 0.4% increase on the 2016/17 forecast reflecting small increases in the number of sheep shorn and similar average wool cuts per head. It assumes normal seasonal conditions through Autumn and into 2017/18.
The Committee noted that for the 2016/17 season to March, AWTA test data showed a significant increase in the weight of wool tested between 20 micron and 24 microns and declines in the volumes of 17 microns and 18-micron wool. This probably mainly reflects the excellent seasonal conditions. There has also been a significant fall in the volume of 26 to 30-micron wool. The mean fibre diameter for Australia to March was 21.0 microns, the same as in 2015/16.