Countryman - - FRONT PAGE - Bob Gar­nant

The Aus­tralian wool mar­ket reached new highs dur­ing the last sale of the year, push­ing the to­tal value of wool sold past $3 bil­lion for the cal­en­dar year, a first since AWEX records be­gan in 1995.

For the first time, the East­ern Mar­ket Indi­ca­tor sur­passed 1700c/ kg, clos­ing at 1760c/kg ,while the Western Mar­ket Indi­ca­tor soared 54c to close at 1816c/kg.

There was talk of a new red Mus­tang mus­cle car on the Christmas wish list dur­ing the Western Wool Cen­tre’s last sale of the year, when prices hit record lev­els.

Brook­ton wool­grow­ers Norm and Ge­orgie Beecroft were over­joyed when their 72-bale No­rina Park wool clip sold well above ex­pec­ta­tions.

“From good ad­vice from our wool agent (Elders’ Tony Alosi), I had a feel­ing this would be a good week to sell wool and we been re­warded for our con­sis­tent qual­ity over the years,” Mr Beecroft said.

The cou­ple, who have spent 50 years at their 540ha sheep farm, are live­stock car­ers through and through.

“We have a great ap­pre­ci­a­tion for our an­i­mals and to­day’s wool prices were a re­flec­tion of our good­will,” Mr Beecroft said.

The Beecrofts run 1300 Poll Merino Bel­hus blood­line breed­ing ewes, which av­er­age a 100 per cent lamb­ing rate. When an­nual shear­ing takes place, the cou­ple are hands-on, as Mr Beecroft puts in 60 years of wool­class­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and Mrs Beecroft’s farm kitchen whips up meals for the shear­ers.

Sheep have been in Mr Beecroft’s fam­ily since 1902.

His fa­ther, Ernie, sold a pound of wool for 250 pence back in 1950 (equiv­a­lent to 2500c/kg to­day).

“I re­mem­ber my dad, who so ad­mired his work­ing and plea­sure horses, say­ing it was the first time he had money in his pocket, which went to­wards a much-needed mod­ern trac­tor,” Mr Beecroft said.

But times have changed, says Mr Beecroft, who prefers two wheels via Tri­umph power, and Mrs Beecroft’s wish to “drive a Mus­tang” from the pro­ceeds of the cou­ple’s ex­cep­tional wool clip re­turns.

The Beecrofts’ clip sold to a farm-record top price of 1585c/kg greasy for seven bales of 18.3mi­cron with a yield of 74.3 per cent and a length of 95mm.

Mr Alosi said the cou­ple’s sweep-the-floor price av­er­aged $2492 a bale. “The clip had good style with ex­cel­lent crimp­ing, was very soft and white,” he said.

Elders auc­tion­eer Danny Bur­kett, who sold wool to a top of 2080c/kg, be­lieved to be the high­est price for the year at WA auc­tion, said wool­grow­ers who sold dur­ing the spring all had an op­por­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in a bullish mar­ket over the past six months.

Ko­jonup su­perfine wool­grower Cur­tis Im­berti was sur­prised to top the Elders sale, with a farm-record price for his three-bale line of 14.4mi­cron, July-shorn lambs’ wool.

“Fine wools rose by up to 300c/ kg, which is good value, but as a su­perfine wool­grower, I look for more con­sis­tent higher-end val­ues, which is more ben­e­fi­cial to our busi­ness model,” he said. “Grow­ing the finer wools has its chal­lenges, but progress has con­tin­ued us­ing Misty Hills blood­lines and to­day’s prices have en­cour­aged my com­mit­ment to stay the course.”

Pic­ture: Bob Gar­nant

Brook­ton wool­grow­ers Ge­orgie and Norm Beecroft and Elders agent Tony Alosi cel­e­brate the last sale of 2017 with an op­ti­mistic out­look af­ter the cou­ple's wool sold to an all-time record farm-gate price.

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