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Beyond the Bale : September 2016
CONFIDENCE OF CHINA’S WOOL INDUSTRY David acknowledges that wool is primarily a volume-driven business at an industry level as well as at a grower level. “However, I believe we should continue to market wool as a higher quality niche market fibre, by educating Chinese manufacturers and in particular their customers (increasingly American retail businesses) and end consumers about the unique natural benefits of wool.” David’s reference to China is not only influenced by the fact that nearly 80 per cent of the Australian wool clip is exported to China, but also due to David having visited China earlier this year as part of an AWI-supported delegation of 14 young Australian woolgrowers. The woolgrowers had the opportunity to travel to Shanghai and surrounding provinces for a pilot study tour program of Chinese woollen mills. “I was particular excited at the opportunity as I had always wanted to see the downstream processing side of wool. Once the wool bale leaves our shed my understanding of the To help extend the competitors’ skills, AWI also held a training workshop prior to the competition, led by Daniel and local wool- handling trainer Mel Morris. Novice and intermediate judges were also trained, to a level at which they can now judge open competitions across Australia. The iconic fashion parade was again held, showcasing various men’s and women’s collections (including AWI’s runway kit) that highlighted the use of wool in sportswear, casual wear and formal wear. It was the largest and most varied collection that has ever been showcased at the Show. “Feedback from the exhibitors, trade sites and stall holders at this year’s Show has been really positive, which is very rewarding as a lot of work goes into putting on the event, and all credit to the small group of dedicated volunteers and the sponsors that make it happen,” David added. MORE INFORMATION www.campbelltownshow.com.au CAMPBELL TOWN SHOW’S SHEAR BRILLIANCE Founded in 1838 by a group of far-sighted and progressive landowners, the Campbell Town Show in Tasmania continues to play a leading role in displaying the best of the Tasmanian agricultural industry. Australian shearing champion Daniel McIntyre in action at the Campbell Town Show. PHOTO: Chris Kidd / Newspix “W hile in recent years the Show has diversified to reflect transformations in Tasmania’s agricultural sector, an important aspect of the Show is still to showcase positive messages about the sheep and wool industries to farmers and the public alike,” Show president David Taylor said. “Thousands attended this year’s two-day event in June that provided displays and competition in a wide and varied program. Sheep exhibitions, wool fashion and shearing were some of the highlights.” AWI was a sponsor of the Show and provided support in several areas, including the shearing and wool handling competition. The competition included a good cross section of novices, intermediates and professionals, with current Australian champion Daniel McIntyre from Glen Innes, NSW, winning the Show’s shearing competition. process involved from raw material to final garment had been limited,” David said. The group visited a number a processing facilities including Tianyu Wool that specialises in wool scouring and top making; they then visited Sudwolle to view and learn about the spinning and dyeing process. Lastly they visited the Sunshine Group which is a vertically integrated business operating right through the processing chain of scouring, top making, spinning, dyeing, weaving and production of final garments for their own labels. “The scale of the wool processing operations in Shanghai is extraordinary. The level of investment in infrastructure and machinery is huge, which I see as a massive vote of confidence for Australian woolgrowers. “It goes to show that the Chinese have enough confidence in the industry and the wool fibre itself that we should have the confidence to grow it and supply them with the product that they need and want. “However, they did say their margins are relatively tight, partially driven by increasing labour costs and environmental regulations. Their businesses rely on production and processing volumes. Margins are dictated by how quickly and efficiently they can process the various stages of products. “Despite, this, they were confident continued investment in technology will allow business to grow.” QUALITY OF AUSTRALIAN WOOL David says the take home message he got from the trip was that while the Chinese are in the business of buying large wool volumes, they consider Australian Merino wool to be the best quality (compared to for instance crossbred, South African and Argentinian wool). “However there appears to be a disconnect between what Australian growers ‘chest beat’ about their own quality characteristics of wool and what processors consider to be qualitative factors of wool. “Barring the big tickets items (such as SL, SS) a grower might talk about CV, handle, whiteness, lustre, uniformity of crimp – but my interpretation is that these words would be received with blank faces from processors, whose version of quality basically means production efficiency. “In their eyes, quality primarily means Australian Merino, micron, length in the top and staple strength and that is about it. Despite China being the major consumer of Australian wool, they still have a lot to learn about the qualities of our wool, which can only be a good thing.” The delegation also visited the AWI Shanghai office and returned home through Hong Kong and visited the AWI office there. “The staff there were very accommodating, and they gave us a presentation on AWI product innovations. The versatility of the style, look, handle and feel of the woollen garments was amazing.” “The level of investment in China’s infrastructure and machinery is huge, which I see as a massive vote of confidence for Australian woolgrowers.” David Taylor ON FARM 51
In the Shops - September 2016