August 15, 2004
Wool Price Differential Narrowed
The average price differential between U.S. wool and Australian wool narrowed to 82.2 percent in May, for the narrowest margin U.S. wool producers have seen in years.
One of the measures the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) chose to utilize in analyzing the progress of its Wool Trust Programs was the price differential between U.S. wools and equivalent Australian wools. For example, in January of 2002, when the Wool Trust programs were first launched, U.S. wool prices as a percentage of Australian wool prices were 49 percent, on average.
Slightly more than two years later, in May of 2004, U.S. 64's grade wool (20.6 to 22.04 micron) brought 95 percent of that of Australia's equivalent wool prices, compared to 61 percent for 64's wool prices in January of 2002. This is the narrowest price margin the U.S. wool industry has seen since the early 1980s.
In another comparison, U.S. 56's grade wool (26.4 to 27.84 micron) brought 39.8 percent of their Australian equivalents in January of 2002 while in May of this year that narrowed to 69.4 percent. Over the last 25 years, 56's have averaged 85.6 percent of Australian equivalents. This indicates that there may be further value difference in the medium to coarse wool categories in the United States.
"Basically, we have seen a substantial improvement in U.S. wool prices as a result of the work being done by the ASI American Wool Council programs utilizing Wool Trust and U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) funds," says ASI Director of Wool Marketing Rita Kourlis Samuelson. "More buyers are bidding on domestic wool."
Burlington Awarded Navy Contract
According to the Defense Logistics Agency, Burlington Apparel Fabrics, Greensboro, N.C., has been awarded a $7,087,500 fixed-price with economic price-adjustment contract for tropical poly/wool cloth for the U.S. Navy.
The contract was awarded as an option to a multi-year contract previously awarded to Burlington.
The work will be performed in North Carolina as well as in Hurt, Va., with an expected performance completion date of Oct. 19, 2005.
Certified Wool Classing School Successful
The American Sheep Industry Association-sponsored Certified Wool Classing School held in conjunction with the Maryland/Delaware Wool Pool on June 22-25, 2004, was a success.
Six participants from the eastern states of Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia, participated in the training session, specifically designed to help eastern sheep producers and wool pools categorize their wool.
The participants worked alongside ASI-certified level 2 and 3 wool classers to classify more than 48,000 lbs. of pooled wool.
In addition to the wool classing, participants learned about baling and core and grab sampling.
As most flocks in the eastern United States are small, classing generally takes place at a wool pool or warehouse versus on the ranch.
Famous Aussie Wool Property Holds Dispersal Sale
One of Queensland's most famous wool properties sold off its last 6,000 head of sheep in late June, marking the end of an era in Australia.
The Consolidated Pastoral Co., a large-scale sheep enterprise since the late 1800s, held a dispersal sale of its Isis Downs stud stock.
Many regional woolgrowers are turning to beef cattle for numerous reasons including labor challenges, depredation by dogs and an inconsistent wool market.