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Fall in Australian wool cut

Australia’s shorn wool production for the 2017-18 season is estimated at 340 million kilograms greasy.

After the excellent seasonal conditions experienced across Australia for some or all of 2016-17, conditions have become more mixed. Seasonal conditions in some regions, including much of Victoria and the south-east of South Australia, are reported to be very good, but other areas, including parts of Western Australia, the Western Division of New South Wales and key wool growing regions in Queensland, have been dry.

While fleece weights in spring are likely to be good, there is likely to be a moderation in the average wool cuts per head in some areas as the season progresses. Overall, the season average wool cut per head is expected to slide by 1.2 per cent. This contrasts with the 3.4 per cent increase in average cut per head estimated for 2016-17.

There was a fall in the volume of 26 to 28 micron wool but an increase in 30.6 and broader wool. As a result of these changes, the mean fiber diameter for Australia in 2016-17 was steady at 21.0 microns, the same as in 2015-16.

The easing in average wool cut per head is likely to be almost entirely offset by a one per cent increase in the number of sheep shorn during the 2017-18 season.