Global woes put market in doldrums

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Bob GarnantCountryman
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Williams woolgrower Bob Rose was in Perth to not only analyse his farm's profitability, but also to protest against activists who are trying to devalue it.

While he scratched down the prices received from his family's Grassvale wool clip sale, Mr Rose said growers needed to counter the anti-live export publicity campaign.

While the wool market steadied with national sales finishing 1.5 per cent higher, Mr Rose was unsure of what Sunday's protest rally in Fremantle would bring.

"We need to get the sheep producers point of view across, and how live export is important to us economically and to country Australia," he said.

The Rose family runs 14,000 sheep and, as a contribution to higher animal welfare standards, they voluntarily phased out the procedure of mulesing eight years ago.

"We breed plainer bodied Multi-purpose Merino sheep and have been successful with flystrike management," he said.

Mr Rose said that off a better season, but still working on only half the average rainfall, fleece weights were up this year.

Although premiums are not yet realised for non-mulesed sheep, the Roses are hoping demand for such sheep and wool will increase in the near future.

The 12-bale consignment of the Grassvale 18.7-micron wool sold for 829 cents/kg greasy in the Elders catalogue.

Elders wool manager Danny Burkett said the northern hemisphere was now experiencing colder weather which was positive for the wool industry.

He said despite the relatively large offerings in the auction at present, there was still some 4.8 per cent less than last year. "Supply is still limited," he said.

"Overseas there remains a very low level of stock in greasy, scoured or wooltop form."

Elders national wool manager Andrew Dennis said some yarn, fabric and finished garment stock was beginning to show up and was weighing on those further up the chain.

"This year retailers have held back orders even longer than previous years," Mr Dennis said.

"With confirmed recession in Europe, unrest in the Middle East and the wait on new government in China, it is unlikely the wool market will go anywhere until the second quarter of 2013."

This week's national wool market has 49,617 bales rostered for sale.

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