Nothing makes me prouder than seeing Tasmanian woolgrowers being rewarded for innovation, vision, hard work and excellence.
Nutrien Wool's Tasmanian Feature Sale held in Melbourne last week was a very exciting day for the industry.
It was the first time the company was able to market "Natural Tasmanian Wool" branded fleeces that were accredited through the industry's Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) and Schneider Group's Authentico® Integrity Scheme programs.
One bale was of such high quality and style that it was voted as a "1PP type" and became the first RWS-accredited wool of this type sold to textile group Succesori Reda SpA to date.
Price premiums were achieved across the board at the Melbourne sale.
Superfine wools attracted high levels of interest and excellent prices, along with skirtings and oddments.
Several of our growers who were recently accredited under the RWS program received substantial premiums for their wool due to strong competition and spirited bidding in the sale room.
Only two years ago, one of these growers looked me in the eye and said he would continue to mules his sheep and wouldn't cave to a campaign waged by those with little understanding of sheep husbandry best practice.
But after taking the time to meet with exporters and processors to discuss supply chain trends and demands, this grower made the decision that he would no longer mules his sheep. He was determined to achieve RWS accreditation.
The same grower told me that, at the end of the day, we need to prove to the world that we are farming sustainably, ethically and meeting all global best practice benchmarks.
He said growers had done the hard work, met the standards and were now being rewarded through better pricing.
Nutrien Wool also launched a new storytelling initiative at the Tasmanian Feature Sale last week.
This involves including QR codes on wool sample boxes on the show floor, which enables buyers to scan the codes to learn more about a growers' history, farming practices and wool production.
We received so much positive feedback about the on-farm videos and the accreditation identifying plates for properties such as Merton Vale, Maitland, Richmond Park Estate and Kelvedon Estate.
The Schneider Group's Market Report said the designated Tasmanian sale was a highlight of last week.
It said there is no doubt many buyers are focusing on the mulesing status of specialty wool types, and the clips offered with RWS certification attracted very strong and wide-spread interest.
Nutrien Wool will continue to work with our growers to achieve RWS accreditation so more wool can be marketed under the Natural Tasmanian Wool brand.
As more Italian buyers re-enter the wool market and interest remains strong from China, it is encouraging that prices are continuing to rebound.
But it is more apparent than ever that we need to focus on telling our stories, proving provenance, meeting global supply chain expectations and having a distinct point of difference.
Nutrien Wool sincerely thanks its Tasmanian wool team, its growers and the buyers for making the Tasmanian Feature Sale such a success.