Weekly Market Wrap

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With Mark Dyson, Managing Director

May 30, 2008

Finer wools hit hard as market drifts

DESPITE the small national offering this week, wool market prices dropped to their lowest level since December 2006.

Just under 40,000 bales was offered at the three centres, with the Australian dollar trading at up to US 1 cent higher over the week and the Eastern Market Indicator (EMI) falling 17c per kilogram to close at 852c/kg.

A total 9.4 per cent was passed in. The 18-18.5 and 20-22 micron wools were most affected, losing 10-15c/kg on the first day of sales, with the 18.5 micron and finer fleece drifting by a further 40-50c/kg after the second day.

The styles hit hard were tippy, good to best topmaking types.

Coarser wools decreased by about 10c/kg, while better style skirtings finished the week about 10c/kg ahead. Poorer styles dropped by about 20c/kg for the week.

Crossbred wools edged down only slightly, while oddments were a little dearer across the week mainly on the back of rises in the stains and crutchings.

Next week, the smallest offering of the season of 32,153 bales will be put under the hammer, with Fremantle not selling.

Bare breech concern

One of Australia's most successful Merino breeders fears the bare breech may undo 200 years of genetic sculpturing.

"We have created a brilliant animal but this issue could knock the breed off the rails. Sure we need to work towards a bare breech, but we need to be very careful we don't compromise the entire breed through this.''

Few know Merino genetics as intimately as Rockbank principal John Crawford, who is warning of the pitfalls for the entire wool industry of a dramatic move towards bare breech animals.

He said there were a number of powerful genes involved with such animals that seriously compromise both wool production and quality.

"Bare breech animals have thinner skin and there is far less blood to produce wool. They are a completely different animal in many ways and produce an inferior fibre and less of it. They are often not in tune with their environment with less do-ability. Taking wool off around the breech also takes it off around the belly, the eyes, points and ears, leading to a potential skin cancer problem.''

But the Australian Veterinary Association this week suggested the only future for the wool industry is through an easy-care, bare breech animal. Source: Rural Press

Wool quantities

The progressive number of bales offered at auction this year is 12pc less than last year.

The region-by-region differences are -9.5pc in the North, -9.9pc in the south and -20.0pc in the West.

These numbers are not surprising, given that production is down and last season's figure included significant quantities of wool which had been held in-store or on-farm.

The differences are less than early in the season when they were in the order of 17pc. Source: AWIS

Wool may be carbon winner

Wool may be a rare rural winner in the carbon emissions debate.

As a stable product that maintains its chemical form for a very long time, one researcher believes it could be a valuable livestock "carbon sink'' as pressure builds for farm systems to take into account carbon emissions.

Greenhouse gas researcher John Graham, who has been tracking the movement of gases and carbon within crops and pastures, said the carbon content of wool was quite high - "something like 20pc". Source: Rural Press

May 23, 2008
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May 09, 2008
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April 24, 2008
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November 30, 2007
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November 16, 2007
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Mark Dyson, Managing Director

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