The new forecast is for production of 314 million kilograms, a 6.5 percent increase on the 2020-21 estimated shorn wool production of 294 million kilograms. Incoming AWPFC chairman Stephen Hill said “abundant summer feed in many major wool producing regions, together with an early break to the season, continues to favor sheep and wool production.”
AWPFC said sheep producers are continuing to rebuild their flock with an expected 3.1 percent increase in the number of sheep shorn to 69 million head during 2021-22. First-hand offered wool at auction at the end of March was up 11.1 percent.
The AWPFC’s first forecast of shorn wool production for the 2022-23 season is 321 million kilograms, a 2.9 percent gain on the 2021-22 forecast thanks to modest increases in the number of sheep shorn. However, the number of sheep expected to be shorn, 70.9 million head, remains low (20th percentile) and will continue to place a ceiling on further increases in shorn wool production.
Meanwhile, wool marketing continues to try to open new markets. Wool buyer Steve Noa has used his experience of 30 years in the wool industry to launch a range of Woolmark-certified Merino wool polo shirts, which he is marketing to businesses, clubs and individuals as the natural alternative to synthetic polo shirts.
Recognizing the trend toward a more casual style of apparel in the workplace, Noa’s “TheMerinoPolo” aims to competes with synthetic alternatives on price as well as quality.
“The workplace as we know it has changed dramatically,” he said. “Corporate and business wear has altered direction in a much more relaxed way. Sure, it’s not good for the wool suit market, but the versatility of wool can see our great fiber adapt and succeed in this new world. I aim for my new TheMerinoPolo to revolutionize the workplace. It is a versatile, stylish, comfortable and high-quality polo shirt made at one of the most advanced wool knitting mills in the world.”
The wool in the current range of TheMerinoPolo was purchased in Melbourne and Fremantle at auction by Endeavour Wool. The wool was then shipped to one of China’s most progressive and modern wool processors. After scouring and top-making, the wool top was spun at Woolmark licensee Xinao Textiles and then knitted into garments at Diyang Merino Textile, also a Woolmark licensee.
The polo shirts are made using 18.5-micron Merino wool and spun with 13 percent nylon to enhance durability. The machine washable, short-sleeved and collared polo shirts are available in five colors and several sizes for men and women.
Noa also aims to soon introduce a slightly heavier weight polo shirt, with 100 percent 18.5-micron Merino wool that can be worn in cooler weather.
“My aim is to get as many Australian businesses as possible wearing wool, thereby creating significant demand for the fiber each year and building a tangible supply chain for wool growers,” he added.