17 December 1998
‘Wool returns to fall 30%’

SHEEP farmers can expect to see their wool cheque drop by 30% next year, according to Ian Hartley, managing director of the British Wool Marketing Board.

The current price for wool is about 62p/kg. Mr Hartley sees next years price at about 46p.

Cheviots and half-bred fleeces would fetch about 50p, Blackface fleeces would average 43p, and Swaledales could make just 20p.

Mr Hartley explained that wool is one of the European Union farm products whose price is being pressured by an extremely poorly performing world market.

Australia currently has a huge inventory of unsold stock and demand from Russia, China and Japan has collapsed.

He said that stockpiling of the 1998 clip, rather than selling at low prices, has been ruled out because it would defer the problem.

Mr Hartley said that the board had reduced its marketing costs to less than 18p/kg for three years, compared with 30p/kg three years ago.

Meanwhile, farmers are to get a chance to vote on whether to reduced the number of board members from 16 to 11.

The new board would have two appointed members and nine regional members.

Scotland would be represented by two members instead of the present three.

There is also a proposal to reduce the membership of Scotlands wool committees from a total of 45 to 25.

  • The Scotsman 17/12/98 page 26