June 15, 2004
June 2004 --
Changes Abound for Australian, New Zealand Wool Industries
The Australian and New Zealand wool industries experienced numerous changes the first week of April:
- The New Zealand Wool Testing Authority (NZWTA) sold for $1.8 million to the New Zealand farmer-owned Wool Equities and the Australian Wool Testing Authority (AWTA) in a 50:50 partnership. It will be known as New Zealand Wool Handlers (NZWH) and will be a stand-alone wool handling and warehousing company. Prior to the sale, NZWTA entered into a 50/50 joint venture with the British Wool Marketing Board to test about 60 percent of the British wool clip, which now will be completed by the newly formed NZWH.
- Australian Wool Handlers (AWH), controlled by Elders and Landmark, confirmed its plans to set up a commercial auction service to compete with the Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX). It is anticipated that AWH could redirect up to 63 percent of the market share away from AWEX, the existing independent, industry-controlled exchange, to the new system.
- Lastly, the Australia Wool Innovation Ltd. (AWI) is in talks with three Indian textile companies to set up joint ventures to produce quality garments from Australian wool. AWI is an independent public company owned by Australian wool growers, and is keen on encouraging the use of Australian wool in quality textiles produced in other nations.
Reverse Trade Missions Putting American Wool in the Spotlight
Sixty to 70 percent of the U.S. wool clip is exported, so it comes as no surprise that in 1998 the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) refocused its international program and concentrated on marketing U.S. wool directly to international wool companies.
One component of ASI's international wool marketing efforts is its "reverse trade missions," which involves bringing international wool buyers to the United States, where they learn about both American wool and U.S. wool marketing systems.
This spring, at least eight international delegations will travel to various U.S. wool warehouses in anticipation of buying domestic wool. Delegates include repeat buyers, who have developed a relationship with warehousemen and sellers, realize the quality of U.S. wool and know how to participate in the U.S. wool market, as well as buyers from countries that have not participated in the past. Countries represented in this year's missions include Germany, China, France, Holland, South Africa, Argentina and the United Kingdom.
Part of ASI's global strategy involves working one-on-one with international wool trade markets to provide additional options to U.S. wool growers in marketing their products overseas. The development of long-term relationships provides access into a variety of markets. Furthermore, because trade issues can affect the ability to market into specific countries, providing multiple options provides the utmost salability of U.S. wool.
Although domestic companies continue to play a vital role as important customers for U.S. wool, they cannot consume all domestically produced wool as they once did.
Study Confirms Sheepskins Prevent Bed Sores
A major cause of patient pain and suffering and additional healthcare costs in hospitals and aged-care facilities is the development of pressure ulcers, more commonly known as bed sores. Fortunately, occurrence of the costly ailment can be more than halved through the use of a simple but effective sheepskin mattress overlay reports the Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO),
Dr. Ken Montgomery, chief investigator of CSIRO Textile Fibre and Technology, recently reported that "a survey, conducted in the U.S. in 1999, estimated the annual cost of pressure ulcers to the American healthcare system at $US 3.6 billion. "The results of this study, therefore, are significant for healthcare systems world-wide."
The Australian Medical Sheepskin (AMS) was specifically designed to reduce pressure, minimize skin-shear and friction and absorb moisture. The AMS is more supportive than previous products and can withstand multiple washes at 80 degrees Celsius to achieve high-level thermal disinfection. It also represents a significant advance in leather technology.
"Results of this study have confirmed that when used as a mattress overlay, the AMS can reduce the incidence of pressure ulcers by 58 percent," concluded Montgomery.