July 15, 2004
By Wendy Jenkins
July 15, 2004 --
The kick-off to the 2004 wool sale year was a huge success with the Roswell Wool Sale in early May.
"This was the best attended sale," says Mike Corn, manager of Roswell Wool, the largest U.S. wool warehouse.
The 2 million pounds of wool available was a huge draw for buyers from across the United States as well as Australia, China, England, France, Holland and India. Three groups from China attended and were very competitive and aggressive, having since placed additional orders.
Although the prices were disappointing (between $1.20 and $1.30), Corn maintains that the sale was a huge success compared to the prices received in Australia that same week. Due in part to the impressive attendance, 85 percent of the 2 million pounds of wool was sold during the three-day sale. According to Corn, "producers are making more money today on percentage than three years ago."
Another factor adding to the success of the Roswell Wool sale is the classing information made available to buyers prior to the sale. Length and strength is tested for every lot before the sale to provide more information to buyers as in international markets.
This year the Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX) classing system was used for the first time, offering even more information to buyers. While not yet widely used or favored by domestic buyers, the AWEX system is familiar to international buyers. AWEX classing was a very large success and Roswell Wool will continue to use the classing system.
"AWEX was well received by producers," states Corn, "(with) better response from producers than buyers."
Feedback from buyers says that American wool is performing better than expected. In the past, a few buyers have not been pleased with wool contaminats.
"Contamination must be addressed by producers or buyers will not come back," says Corn. "Higher quality is needed."
Representing premier wool producers from the western United States, Roswell Wool is a producer-run and -owned wool warehouse. The Roswell wool sale is very visible and its auction system favored by buyers and taking place during the first week of May, it often sets the market.
The next sales in Roswell to the end the year are scheduled for late October and early December.