World wool production fell 7.5 percent last year and is expected to decline a further 2 percent. According to the latest surveys tabled at the International Wool Textile Organization (IWTO), the world produced 1,100 million kilograms of clean wool last year.
Nearly 65 percent of this clip was produced by 10 producer member countries of the IWTO.
Australia accounted for about 25 percent of the total world clip, which includes the coarser or broader micron categories more suited to non-apparel wear or industrial usage.
Chris Wilcox, executive director of the National Council of Wool Selling Brokers, conducted the IWTO survey of producer countries and said the strong demand for sheep meat was the major driver of the flock trends. The IWTO survey did not, however, include flocks of many African, Middle Eastern, European and Eastern European countries.
According to Wilcox, New Zealand and South Africa were the only countries expected to record an increased clip this year, although the Australian clip was tipped to rise by 3 percent in 2010-2011.
China runs the world's largest flock, and even though the Chinese clip of 340 million kilograms greasy was low yielding and of lower quality, 33 percent would be 24.5 micron and finer. Wilcox stated that there was a trend for the Chinese to shift away from wooled sheep.
Other countries affected by the high sheep prices were the United Kingdom and the United States where slaughtering rates were on the increase. Both countries were expected to record fewer sheep and smaller clips next year.
Reprinted in part from Weekly Times Now