As the 2018/19 wool selling season comes to a close, Stock & Land caught up with a handful of Victorian and South Australian woolgrowers, who were selling wool at the Melbourne woolstores this week, to see how their seasons had fared.
Anthony Streeter, Natte Yallock
Natte Yallock woolgrower Anthony Streeter was selling 20 bales.
Mr Streeter runs an eight-monthly shearing schedule, and sells wool at the same frequency.
His property didn't see a drop of rain for a six-month period, meaning summer was incredibly tough.
"But we've turned a corner now, we've had good rain in May and June," he said.
He said focusing on nutrition and feeding during the dry times had paid off.
"It shows in the wool, the tests are really good," he said.
"It shows that if you look after your flock in a tough year, it pays off."
His 20 bales averaged 20 micron, which was on par with his long-term average.
Robert Hiscock, Pyalong
Robert Hiscock grows wool on three properties, one at Pyalong and two in NSW, at Balranald and Ivanhoe.
Mr Hiscock was selling 200 bales of Merino and crossbred wool at the Melbourne woolstores, and was joined by his two granddaughters Milla and Charlotte.
He said rainfall totals at all three properties had been "bloody terrible", but recent rain, including 40 millimetres at Pyalong a couple of weekends ago, was boosting confidence.
"That's the most rain we've had in months," he said.
Having spent close to $1 million on feed to get his flock through the dry in the last 12 months, he said he was yet to figure out whether it was worth it.
"I'll tell you in 12 months, sheep numbers will be down a hell of a lot," he said.
He said he had heard of lambing rates as low as 20-30 per cent in NSW, and while he hadn't marked yet, he was estimating he'd hit about 50-60pc.
John Mosey, Florieton, SA
John Mosey, Florieton, SA, was selling almost half the amount of wool he would normally sell at this time of year because of the drought.
"We haven't had rain in two years," Mr Mosey said.
He offered 170 bales of 20-20.5 micron wool at the Melbourne woolstores, whereas last year he sold 300.
But while quantity was down dramatically, the quality of the wool was surprisingly good.
"I've been feeding for two years, and good management and good genetics has paid off," he said.
He credited the "evenness" of the rams by Greenfields Merino and Poll Merino stud, Hallett, SA, which he has been using for the last 15 years, to producing quality wool that stands up in a drought.
"If you compare the wool from two years ago when things were really good to now, when it's the worst it's ever been, nothing's really changed except the wool cut per head," he said.
Heather Foster, Naracoorte, SA
Travelling across the border from Naracoorte, SA, to the Melbourne woolstores, Heather Foster sold 47 bales of wool.
Ms Foster was in a unique situation of having had a "pretty good" season.
"We've had a good run, a long autumn but good rains and good growing in the last two months," she said.
Elders district wool manager Steph Brooker-Jones,Lucindale, SA, said the quality of the Foster family's wool was excellent.
"It's high yielding, got low mid-breaks, and good, 20-micron averages," Ms Brooker-Jones said.
Ms Foster also runs a first-cross operation, selling ewes at Naracoorte in October.