Thursday, 21 May 2015 14:25

Wool gaining, but meat still the king

Written by 
Hawkes Bay wool broker Philippa Wright. Hawkes Bay wool broker Philippa Wright.

Introducing overseas sheep to New Zealand’s flock has changed the nature of the wool produced here, says Hawkes Bay wool broker Philippa Wright.

She told Rural News that the thing that she sees the most is black fibre, especially in lamb wool, and this has to be separated out for obvious reasons.

“The other thing you notice is there is bit more bulk in the wool and this bulk is actually a good thing. NZ isn’t renowned for its high bulk wools and there is definitely not as much wool per sheep.

“We see that in our bales – it’s harder to press them. 

The average NZ bale weight is 165kg, but the exotic bales would struggle to get to 130kg. The other thing is the variation in wool. 

You used to get a wool clip that was the same form, but now you get a variation in the fleece and that’s due to the interbreeding of the sheep flock.” 

Interestingly, Wright believes a lot more farmers are moving back to Romney sheep.

Meanwhile she says it’s been a good growing season for wool in Hawkes Bay, in the amount and quality. Prices have been firm all season and there was no dip in prices around Christmas, which normally happens.

“We are already a dollar per kilo up on where we were two years ago and its maintaining that. 

It’s a little bit higher this year and lamb wool took an enormous leap this year and went up a dollar from last year – so farmers have had very good year,” she claims.

But despite this Wright says farmers are much more focused on meat than on wool. She says wool makes up about 15% of a farmer’s income, so they focus on meat. 

But she argues that it doesn’t take much effort to maintain a good wool clip.

“Once upon a time there was always a wool person when they went to select rams, but that has lessened over the years. That means there is no attention being paid to wool.

“However, a few farmers are approaching us and saying it is worthwhile looking after wool and making  sure they get the best wool weights and with it the best quality.” 

Wright says she’s become involved in the Campaign for Wool as part of her commitment and strategy to encourage farmers to grow more wool and increase their sheep numbers. 

She says in the past year about a third of her clients have increased the amount of wool they normally produce.


» Connect with Rural News

More like this

Avoiding triple drench resistance

Triple drench resistance is appearing at an alarming rate, particularly in the North Island. But it can be prevented by correct management.

Reducing stress on in-lamb ewes

Most of the ewes that make up the New Zealand ewe flock are high performance animals, many of them sitting on a metabolic knife-edge as they get closer to lambing, says Ben Allot, North Canterbury Vets.

Multi-prong attack in combatting worms

Changes in a farm’s land use or policies which result in it having mostly young livestock could be disastrous in promoting the development of drench resistance.

Championing wool to the world

Telling the story of wool is one of the keys to its resurgence as the global fibre of choice, according to NZ grower owned company Wools of New Zealand.

» The RNG Weather Report


New hort science scholarships 

A scholarship for up to five students each year, studying Massey University’s Bachelor of Horticultural Science degree has been launched by kiwifruit exporter Zezpri.


Taking farmers together on climate change

How we take the farming community with us and what trajectory we are on for climate change response is all open for discussion, says Dr Rod Carr, the new chair-designate of the Climate Change Commission.

High alert for stink bugs

Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor is warning travelling Kiwis to be vigilant as the high-season for the crop-eating brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is under way.


» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Chipping in

The Hound was intrigued to read an article recently, on the Newsroom website, that shows that Education Minister Chris ‘Chippy’…

I'm alright

This old mutt has been contacted by many concerned individuals about the role the former Synlait boss John Penno is…

» Connect with Rural News