Wool prices set to continue recovering following the drought
A healthy demand for good-quality wool was expected in 2019, according to Heinrich Victor, operational manager for fibre at OVK.
He said an integrated animal health regime would, nevertheless, be critical, and producers needed to take note of the import regulations set out by Chinese importers, as the country was the world’s largest buyer of greasy wool. In this regard, wool from areas where Rift Valley fever outbreaks had been reported would not be allowed to be shipped to China. “It is therefore vital that producers vaccinate their flocks against [the disease in 2019],” he said.
According to Guillau du Toit, chairperson of the National Wool Growers’ Association, expectations were that the lower supplies from South Africa’s wool-producing areas, due to the drought, would benefit trade to a certain extent.
The local wool market had levelled out somewhat in 2018 due to rapid short-term price increases. However, the wool price remained 6% to 7% higher at the end of 2018 compared with 2017, and this growth was expected to continue in 2019.
Du Toit added it was important that wool producers adhered to the industry’s code of best practice. “This includes matters such as animal management and shearing processes. These issues are expected to become increasingly important in the global arena in future.” A mohair producer near Prince Albert, Jordi von Hasselt, said indications were that prices would remain stable and even improve due to international demand for local mohair. Ample rain was, however, needed for grazing conditions to recover and enable producers to cut down on high input costs as a result of the drought, he said.
The positive side of the drought was that hardier animals “showed themselves”, which added to the genetic integrity of his flock.
“Producers had to feed animals at considerable cost, we [therefore] need rain in 2019 to improve profit margins,” he explained. – Annelie Coleman