Wool prices set to con­tinue re­cov­er­ing fol­low­ing the drought

Farmer's Weekly (South Africa) - - Commodity Outlook 2019 -

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

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