Falling wool prices leave growers deciding whether to sell or keep the clip

IT'S no secret that our wool growers are at the top of their game in terms of producing a quality product in an efficient way.

However, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has rocked the industry and created a new level of market instability.

China is a major wool buyer and the fibre price is directly related to this country's appetite for the clip.

Here in the Riverina there is plenty of shearing activity taking place. But rather than rushing bales to the auction rooms growers are weighing up whether to sell it now or store it on farm.

Fox and Lillie Rural branch manager at Culcairn Jenni Turner said there were still some opportunities for good prices.

She said there had been a mix of responses to the market. Some growers had chosen to hold onto the clip and others were moving it on and selling.

Mrs Turner said often the decision was made based on the quality of the wool and any specifications and also how the clip had handled seasonal conditions.

"I think what people have done is sat back and watched and hoped to see if the wool price would go up, and now we are seeing that is not going to be the case," she said.

As a result, more wool was expected to enter the system as growers make decisions based on cash flow.

On a positive note, some of the quality wool and high-yielding flocks were still achieving good results during the market downturn.

"There are still some highlights, and yield is very important at the moment," she said.

"It is still worth getting (wool) tested and bringing it in for a valuation ... you may find yourself pleasantly surprised," she said.

Wool grower Paul Cocking of "Kaloona" at Mangoplah confirmed the industry was experiencing uncertain times but he had taken the decision to sell the clip. "I sold mine about six weeks ago and got reasonable money for it.

He said the hogget wool had made around $20 (a kilogram) and there were some other satisfactory results too.

"Whether or or not people hold wool on farm comes back to a financial choice of the property owner," Mr Cocking said.

He said while the COVID-19 pandemic and market fall out couldn't be predicted the industry had been too reliant on China as a market.

"We had a lot of opportunities to look at other markets and we have missed those options now," he said.