Wool grower jumps at chance to beat uncertainty

Wool grower jumps at chance to beat uncertainty

Wool
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A Victorian wool grower says her family jumped at the chance to sell wool last week to combat the uncertainty of what's ahead.

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Fifth-generation farmer based at Concongella near Stawell Sue Holden sold her wool clip last week to beat the uncerainty of what's ahead.

Fifth-generation farmer based at Concongella near Stawell Sue Holden sold her wool clip last week to beat the uncerainty of what's ahead.

A Victorian wool grower says her family jumped at the chance to sell wool last week to combat the uncertainty of what's ahead.

Sue Holden, who is a fifth-generation farmer based at Concongella near Stawell, offered 169 bales of 16.5-micron wool, that weighed 185 kilograms, for sale last week, and averaged 1855 cents a kilogram, with just 11 of those passed in.

In a week that was normally the Easter recess and where brokers were recommending wool growers only sold if completely necessary, Ms Holden said she was "relatively pleased" with the prices, particularly given they were up an average of 15c/kg on their valuations, but said she was mostly happy to have the wool sold and gone.

"There was a bit of angst and discussion over when to sell," she said.

"But our general thought was that it's only going to get worse and that if we hang on, we're probably looking at [hanging on for] 12-18 months, and we just couldn't afford that.

"So we thought we may as well just sell now and take what we can get."

Ms Holden was referring to the impact coronavirus has had on the wool market, with the industry benchmark Eastern Market Indicator losing about 150c/kg in just the last few weeks.

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"Apparently Chinese mills are starting to come back online, but it's going to be a fair bit longer before Italian and other European mills get going again," she said.

"Then there's the problem of the next step of the chain - demand for the product."

Her guesses were that it would be at least a year before normality returned to the wool industry.

"It's going to be very interesting to see where prices go," she said.

"But when you think about it, if you compare this to where we were three years ago, it's not that bad.

Sue Holden holds some of her wool.

Sue Holden holds some of her wool.

"Part of the problem now is that the northern hemisphere is heading into their summer, so that takes demand away from the US and Canada, but maybe next year there'll be more demand.

"We'll just have to wait and see."

Ms Holden said she considered herself lucky that they had managed to shear their sheep, of which they run 7500 mature Merinos, just before the panic of coronavirus set in.

"We had contractors here but it was still in the pretty early stages [of coronavirus]," she said.

"Most of them were New Zealanders who were getting a bit concerned about whether or not they'd be able to get home.

"I think we got shorn just in time."

The story Wool grower jumps at chance to beat uncertainty first appeared on Farm Online.

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