The Australian Wool Production Forecasting Committee has revised its 2011/12 wool production forecast from 355 mkg to 350 mkg greasy, which is 1.5% above 2010/11 production. The adjustment has been made mainly because of an expectation of lower fleece weights in some areas than was the case in October.
Committee chairman Russell Pattinson said, “Fleece weights in some states have not been as good as the Committee anticipated at the October meeting.
“We have also seen animal health issues, due to increased problems with flies and worm burdens, impact on expected wool production.”
The Committee has also adjusted the opening sheep numbers for 2011/12 following the release of provisional agricultural census data by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) earlier in December.
The census is conducted every 5 years, and provides a more reliable assessment of sheep numbers than the smaller annual surveys conducted in the between years by the ABS. Based on the latest census data, the ABS now expects 2011/12 opening sheep numbers to be 74.3 million, rather than the previous figure of 70.8 million. As a result of the revised data for 2011/12, the Committee has also adjusted the previous season's (2010/11) estimated opening sheep numbers from 68.1 million to 70.8 million.
Committee chairman Russell Pattinson added that although the forecast for total wool production for 2011/12 is down on the Committee’s October estimate, it is still higher than it has been in recent years, and is consistent with the previously reported trend of flock rebuilding.
“Results from the combined MLA/AWI grower survey indicate that 90% of farmers intend to maintain or grow their ewe flocks in 2012.”