WA wool production tipped to increase

Headshot of Bob Garnant
Bob GarnantCountryman
Esperance woolgrower Stephen Fowler, of Jumbuck Plains, is planning to increase his farm’s wool production.
Camera IconEsperance woolgrower Stephen Fowler, of Jumbuck Plains, is planning to increase his farm’s wool production. Credit: Bob Garnant/Countryman, Bob Garnant

Shorn wool production for WA is estimated to increase to 56.9 million kilograms in 2021-22, a good start to the season which produce heavier fleece weights.

The forecast, included in the Australian Wool Production Forecast Report in August, predicted Australia would produce 294 million kilograms for 2021-22, a 3.7 per cent increase on the 284mkg produced in the 2019/20 season.

Esperance woolgrower Stephen Fowler, of Jumbuck Plains, said he would be gradually increasing numbers in his Merino flock of 15,500 breeding ewes.

“We have seen our crops set-back with water logging damage this year, and we’re having difficulty establishing crops on our sand-plain country, so we will look at running a few more sheep,” he said.

The Australian Wool Production Forecast committee reported that the final WA shorn wool production in 2020-21 was expected to decline by 5.5 per cent compared with the 2019-20 season, to 56.5 mkg.

The report revealed that WA ewes were sent to the Eastern States to join rather than be slaughtered, which had boosted the Australian Wool Testing Authority’s testing figures as sheep were shorn prior to transportation.

“WA’s increased cropping, seeding and spraying diverted attention away from sheep production during the last part of the season,” a committee spokesman said.

“High clearance rates at auction reduced the build-up of on-farm stocks.”

Fremantle-based Swan Wool Processors principal Paul Foley said yields from the 2020-21 season were noticeably of a lower grade with high vegetable matter content.

“There was no big swing in microns and style, but it was made harder to put together the usual batch of orders with poorer quality wools on the market,” he said.

“With the exceptional start to this season, I believe WA could produce a 5 per cent increase in its woolclip, and we will see broader microns from the improved seasonal outlook.”

According to the forecasting report findings, the WA season remains tight in the south coast region, with high rainfall and extremely cold temperatures impacting lamb survival.

It showed that sheep numbers had been reduced as producers increased production of canola.

“Northern and eastern regions of the State have had their best lambing season on record,” a committee spokesman said.

“Sheep numbers are down and older ewes have been removed from the system.

“The early crop of lambs is looking very good.

“Per head production is expected to increase as is mean fibre diameter due to the expected bulk of green feed during spring.”

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails