There has never been a better time for farmers to re-visit the 'why' and 'how' questions of their farm businesses.
With so much uncertainty hanging over global trade, export logistics, consumer preferences and currency fluctuations, it is a perfect opportunity to analyse market trends to ensure each wool grower is optimally positioned for long-term, sustainable success.
Taking a moment to consider the following could be the much-needed fire cracker to light-up potential and profitability.
- Have I considered all accreditation schemes to best position my wool, such as the Responsible Wool Standard, The Schneider Group's Authentico Integrity Scheme or SustainaWOOL?
- Have I recently reviewed my breeding plan and ram selection criteria to ensure I am producing wool that the world wants?
- Should I continue mulesing?
- Should I continue to produce 21-micron wool or should I be aiming for 19-micron?
- What is my value proposition and how can I best share this story to better connect with consumers?
While we have seen the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator recently hit five-year lows - and 10-year lows in US Dollar terms - there is no doubt exporters are continuing to pay a premium for finer micron wool.
Using the AWEX Micron Price Guides (MPG), 17-micron is attracting an 18 per cent premium over 19-micron wool. The 19-micron value is almost 7 per cent higher than the 21 MPG.
Industry analysts were this week in agreeance that, despite ongoing low demand from Europe, a strong and encouraging situation is evident for the production of quality superfine wool.
An analysis of data from the National Wool Declaration shows that non-mulesed, or ceased-mulesed, wool is less likely to be passed in under grower auction reserves, while wool from sheep that are mulesed is more likely to fetch a below-reserve price at auction.
Premiums are also being attracted for independently-audited wool under a range of accreditation schemes that are being recognised by a range of players through the supply chain to the consumer, as well as animal welfare groups.
Proving provenance, a commitment to sustainable land management and excellence in animal welfare - it is no longer sufficient to self-declare your promise, third-party verification is essential.
And, in terms of marketing, maybe it is time to explore regional marketing collaborations with other like-minded growers to tell your individual and collective stories.
We have to be smarter, take advantage of opportunities in front of us and remain united and strong behind Australia's wool industry.
The market will rebound and we have to ensure we are Javier-Sotomayor-ready to catapult higher than ever before.