• Loddon Herald

Demand driving market

WOOL industry research, development and marketing body Australian Wool Innovation has given a special briefing to local farmers.

Growers from across the Loddon and central Victoria were updated about the state of the industry and future prospects for the fibre at a dinner at Raywood on the eve of Lockdown 7.0.

Organised by local Bestwool Bestlamb co-ordinator Mac McArthur, about 40 woolgrowers heard from Victorian-based AWI general manager of woolgrowers engagement Marius Cuming about the latest in the development of a vaccine for flystrike was discussed with the proof of concept established and many formulations now trialled.

Marius said algorithms were now being written for AWI smart tags to be able to send alerts to woolgrowers concerned about issues such as lambing trouble, theft, predation or metabolic disorders.

While the availability of shearers and woolhandlers continues to be a challenge, over the last 12 months, AWI has trained almost 500 shearers and more than 100 woolhandlers across Victoria through 180 in shed training days. Any woolgrower can request an in-shed shearer training day.

“One of the positives from the pandemic has been the ability of learner shearers to be given a stand ad this has led to a doubling of the retention rate of learners and all learners being able to reach 100 sheep shorn in a day within their first three weeks of work.” He said AWI had a large offering for woolgrowers seeking information across reproduction, breeding, genetics, extension and education which can all be found at wool.com.

“The future is exciting for wool given the modern consumer is looking for a natural, renewable biodegradable fibre,” he said. “The global pandemic has significantly changed the way the natural fibre is marketed around the world via the famous Woolmark, with digital campaigns allowing consumers to directly purchase garments from within video and other online content.

“This has been particularly successful in China, a country where 80 per cent of Australian wool is processed but half of this is ultimately consumed there.

“As key markets in Europe, North America and Asia are vaccinated and open back up, demand for wool is also lifting as is the purchase of clothing to attend events long delayed due to the pandemic.

Marius said knitwear had not been hit as hard as the traditional suiting markets through COVID given the subsequent drop in demand for tailored suiting.

“Many new innovative garments have been created that have successfully put wool into this changing global market of casualisation, sport and activewear, commuter-wear and next to skin knitwear.

“The woolgrowers on the night got to see some of these amazing new garments,” he said.

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