March 31, 2005
Price Increase in Nylon Packs Due
The cost of purchasing nylon packs may be increasing: Producers may be paying from $2 to $2.50 more per pack during this year's shearing season, according to the wool pack industry.
The increased cost is a result of several factors:
Historically, the United States has attempted to purchase packs for producers at times when prices were thought to be at their lowest levels. This typically meant that packs were bought after the peak shearing season in Australia and New Zealand. This year, however, post-wool season prices are higher than they were in the fall of last year.
- Wool packs are produced utilizing petroleum yarns. Unfortunately, petroleum products have experienced a cost increase of approximately 40 percent.
- Competition has decreased. In the past, up to 14 different companies manufactured nylon packs. Today, there are only three.
- The exchange rate between the United States, Australia and New Zealand has substantially changed. Currently, the U.S. dollar is worth at least 30 percent less in Australia and New Zealand than it was just a couple years ago.
U.S. producers have enjoyed the lowest pack prices available for the last four years. Although any increase in expenses is discouraging, the rise in costs per pack will equate to less than one-half cent per lb. of wool.
The American Sheep Industry Association has approved a policy to seek a temporary reduction in the tariff applied to imported packs to help reduce costs to U.S. producers.
International Sheep Shearing Contest
Top sheep shearers from across the United States gathered at the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colo., in mid January to participate in the International Sheep Shearing Contest.
Twenty-four shearers competed at the professional level while seven contestants under the age of 18 participated in the junior division.
Tony Troendle of Lead, S.D., and Maximiano Larralde of Galeton, Colo., took home the top shearer titles in the junior division. Winning the professional division was Jim Schaefer of Callao, Mo., with Davin Perrin of Corning, Iowa, taking the reserve champion honor.
Oster Professional Products sponsored the event as well as other shearing contests throughout the United States and Canada. The American Sheep Industry Association's (ASI) Wool Council provided additional sponsorships to the top five junior competitors and the top 16 professional contestants.
As part of ASI's continuing education program, Sheep Shearing Task Force chair, Jim Bristol, was on-hand to discuss the sheep shearing programs of ASI's Wool Council. The focus lies with a certified sheep shearing program, a shearer database and shearing education.
Shearers at the event were pleased with the council's effort to include them in these wool quality improvement programs.
Also recognized during the weekend's events for his years of dedication and service to the shearing industry was Charlie Swaim of Drakesville, Iowa.
Management Acquires Standard Wool
The Wool Record Weekly recently reported that Standard Wool Ltd. (UK), the Bradford-based wool merchant and processor, has been acquired by its management for an undisclosed consideration. The buy-out was led by managing director Paul Hughes, who has been at the helm of the business for the last 10 years.
Standard Wool has operations in Bradford and Dewsbury, supplying scoured wools predominantly for the carpet industry, and a combing mill in Chile, supplying finer wools for the apparel sector. The company serves customers in the UK and exports to more than 30 countries.
Standard Wool is a major buyer of British wool and is the number one buyer in Chile, where it deals directly with farmers and acquires approximately 60 percent of the Chilean clip.
The buy-out follows the decision by U.S. parent Standard Commercial Corp., in November 2003, to exit its wool operations.