Wool prices predicted to hit 10-year high

Wool prices are set to reach the highest level for a decade, according to the British Wool Marketing Board.

It said that “record-breaking” demand for wool had led to a significant increase in prices this year and the trend could continue into 2011.

If the actual auction prices achieved this spring were maintained during the selling season to April 2011, the BWMB predicted that 2010 producer returns would be:

• Lleyn/Texel – up to 90p/kg (actual 2009 value was up to 61p/kg)
• Mule – up to 95p/kg (up to 65p/kg in 2009)
• Beulah/Radnor – up to 92p/kg (up to 58p/kg in 2009)
• Welsh Mountain – up to 80p/kg (up to 45p/kg in 2009)

“The 2009 values are being reflected in payments to producers already,” said BWMB chief executive, Ian Hartley. “The average producer wool clip value last year was 34p/kg, this year 48p/kg and next year, on current prices, approximately 70p/kg.”

Farmers Weekly’s Welsh Management Matters farmer Aled Jones welcomed the predicted price increase.

“Shearing is one of those things we’ve got to do and are never going to make a lot of money out of it. At 40p/kg we struggle to cover costs, but at 65p we should actually make a bit of profit,” he said.

The BWMB has changed the way it identifies wool prices this year in an attempt to make it clearer how producers’ wool is valued. The revised price schedule, which has been sent to all sheep producers, relates the wool value to individual breeds, as well as traditional wool grades.

Producers will also hope that wool prices benefit from the “Campaign for Wool” which was launched by HRH Prince Charles earlier this year as part of a major world-wide promotion of wool.

“The Campaign for Wool has attracted tremendous support from all sectors of the retail and manufacturing trade. A major promotion initiative – Wool Week – will be held in October to highlight the importance of wool in all its uses to consumers.” said Mr Hartley.