Markets and News
WOOL MARKETING: FIRST QUARTER 2012
The wool market was very strong during the 2011 marketing year. The finer grades led the way throughout the spring, peaking in price around the first of May. Values remained strong into the fall before backing off as November approached. The medium grades found their strength late spring and into early summer. The market stayed strong into September before prices backed off going deeper into fall. A tight cotton crop and lower wool volume throughout the world provided the push that we see in prices.
As we look forward in 2012, prices are giving the indication that they should be good. While we may not see the price levels of 2011, the continued shortage of sheep numbers and wool volume should add support under the market. There are concerns about the financial problems in Europe and the impact that this could have on global finances. If problems advance in Greece, Italy, Portugal and France, it will be difficult to maintain wool values at current levels.
To maximize your wool return, the better the quality, the better the price. A good wool clip is a 365 day job, not just the day of shearing. Wool that is clean and three inches in length will return the most dollars within each grade. As the market has run higher, the discount for defective wools has risen. Wool that is burry, tender, and yellow in color is slower to rise in value as its uses are limited. The same can be said for black wool and wool that is contaminated with hair. Wool that is wet or contaminated with poly doesn’t return the producer anything. Great care should be given to eliminate the defective wools from your clip so maximum dollars for your wool can be realized.
Spring is also a good time of the year to look at your rams and the impact that they have on your wool clip. Many producers review their breeding programs this time of year and wool quality should factor into the factors that determine the rams used for the upcoming year. Introducing finer fleeced rams allow the producer to improve the finest of their ewe flock in the upcoming years, while maintaining the other traits that they have been working on over the years. While we focus on lamb production, focusing on wool quality as well is something that can make a positive impact to an operations bottom line.