Shifting half of New Zealand’s crossbred wool clip to higher value fine wool contracts could boost the economy by about $2 billion, says NZ Merino Company (NZM) chief executive John Brakenridge.
Wool supply is dropping from sheep numbers but it is nothing people haven’t anticipated, he says. NZ’s sheep numbers have gone from 30.3m sheep to 29.8m, which Ching says it is not hugely impacting overall supply.
“The bigger impact is lighter fleece weights due to the composite effect, where instead of an animal producing 4.5kg in a 12 month period it is producing 4kg,” he told Rural News.
“This is mainly coming out of the North Island due to the big move to meat production from sheep.
“They have gone for more lambs and there has been a lot of crossing with Finns and Texels which are meat derivative, high progeny based sires. But the wool produced is a spongier fine more mixed length and doesn’t quite grow as long as the traditional NZ breeds such as the Romneys and Perrendales.
“We have had only a slight drop in stock numbers but we have had a wool weight drop as well. But in our current market we still have a bit of a drift off in wool demand as well.”