National market takes a tumble

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Bob GarnantCountryman

The national wool market fell by 37 cents/kg last week, which was the largest fall in the Eastern Market Indicator in almost five months, according to AWEX.

"Prices tumbled from the outset with all three centres recording losses across their full range of Merino microns," AWEX said.

Wool Agency's Andrew Johnston said the Western Market Indicator still remained above the 1200c/kg clean.

He said the Fremantle market was feeling the pressure of the price correction as well as discounts on lower- strength wools and those containing high vegetable matter (VM) content.

Tenterden producers Stan and Suzanne Hall's Monte Verde wool clip held up well as the downturn hit the western market. Their best price was for a 13-bale consignment of 18.6 micron wool sold for 1066 cents/kg greasy.

Mr Hall said the wool was shorn from stud ewe hoggets and had a yield of 74 per cent, staple length of 103mm, VM of 1.4 per cent and strength of 33 Newtons a kilotex.

"The quality was similar but the price was well below what we received last year," he said. "However, values are still higher relative to the past 20 years."

Mr Johnston said the stylish Monte Verde clip was appreciated by several wool buyers.

Successful bidder Steve Noa, of Queensland Cotton, said the 28 bales of Monte Verde wool he purchased were of good style and strength.

"Those qualities are proving rare at the moment with an oversupply of tender wool on the market," Mr Noa said.

"Unfortunately, demand is not as strong as the industry would like. As such, we are being both cautious and selective with the wool we are purchasing in the current climate."

Mr Hall said he understood there were never any guarantees on what the price would be from week to week.

"What we can control is how we develop and improve on our wool production," he said.

Mr Hall said the current challenge for the Monte Verde flock was to improve fertility.

"We will be introducing Bundilla genetics this year to try to lift our lambing rates," he said.

The NSW Bundilla flock has reported up to 140 per cent lambing, he said.

Mr Hall said that by breeding his own Monte Verde rams, he could more accurately match his flock to the local environmental conditions.

The Halls run a flock of 700 stud ewes, 1400 commercial ewes and 800 ewes joined to Poll Dorset rams.

Ewes scanned empty in the first or second year are put in a cross-breeding program.

Mr Hall said that by getting more lambs on the ground, sheep producers could leverage against any uncertainty in the wool market.

This week's wool market has grown to almost 50,000 bales, including the final Newcastle sale.

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