HOW TO USE THIS ONLINE MAGAZINE
by clicking the arrows at the side of the page.
by clicking anywhere on the page. A slider will appear, allowing you to adjust your zoom level.
and move the page around when zoomed in by dragging the page.
and return to the original size by clicking on the page again.
by entering text in the search field and click on "In This Issue" or "All Issues" to search the current issue or the archive of back issues
a PDF of this magazine.
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
a page via email, Facebook, Twitter and more.
TO VIEW PREVIOUS EDITIONS
, click the
button at the bottom of the screen.
Beyond the Bale : June 2018
Felicity Brumpton is fourth generation on the family's property at Mt Ascot, which is also the name of the Brumptons’ Merino stud. They currently have about 16,000 sheep averaging 19.5 micron. of the mills, and the quality and range of the end products available to the consumer, which essentially flows back to the potential demand and return to growers. What are the Chinese mills' opinions of Australian wool at the moment? FB: Australian wool is known to be top quality worldwide, therefore the Chinese want us to continue to produce a quality wool with lower fibre diameter. Many mills are interested in starting direct contracts for wool from Australian farms to satisfy the demand of the consumers who are wanting to know the story of where the wool came from. Several mills also want us to be more cautious with our wool preparation during shearing to lower the amount of contamination they are receiving when the bales arrive in China. NW: We had lengthy meetings and dinners with those in charge of various wool mills, and it was great to see they had very positive attitudes and opinions towards the Australian wool industry, which is reflected in their continued large-scale investment. The main concerns for them were not the current relatively high prices, but the volatility within the market, and concerns about supply into the future. What is driving demand at retail in China? FB: Many of the Chinese want a natural and biodegradable product, which is increasing the demand for wool at retail in China. Sportswear is currently a major focus in China as people become educated on the properties and benefits that wool clothing has to offer. Consumers are also wanting a product they can wear next to skin and that’s easy to care for. AWI is doing a great job at promoting wool and educating people in China through social media channels such as WeChat and Weibo. NW: The middle class within China’s population of 1.4 billion people is increasing at a substantial rate; luckily for us this Has this trip given you a greater understanding of what it takes to convert raw wool into a final product? Felicity Brumpton (FB): As a producer, we shear the sheep and send the wool on a truck and that is about the last we see of it until we find it hanging on a rack in the shops. So this trip has definitely filled in the gap from auction floor to retail that many people don’t get the opportunity to see. I knew of the different stages of the process, but to follow the raw product through to garment making definitely put the long but efficient process into perspective. Nick Weeding (NW): Yes, I am probably pretty typical of a lot of wool producers, who didn’t have a very good understanding of what happened to wool in the processing phase of the supply chain. Touring the wool mills in China gave me a great insight into processes involved from raw wool right through to the end wearable product, and importantly what factors of the raw wool and the industry in general matter most to the processors and consumers. Were you impressed by what you saw by the Chinese wool industry? FB: I was impressed to see the potential that exists for the Chinese wool industry, particularly through the amount of money that is invested in wool processing (eg machinery in the mills) over there. Many of the mills are planning to increase their production, which gives us confidence to produce and supply as much wool to them as we can. They are working hard to promote Merino wool and are benefiting from an increasing demand for wool products. I was also impressed by the amount of wool garments being produced – Nanshan makes about 80,000 suits for M.J. Bale each year and that is only a small order. NW: Yes, the massive scale of the operations is hard to comprehend, but the impressive part is the level of investment by the processors in modern machines and technology. This all improves the viability Q&A increase brings higher demand for products containing wool, primarily in the form of suits, sports and activewear, and next-to- skin apparel. What is your opinion of the work being done by AWI's marketing subsidiary The Woolmark Company in Hong Kong and China? FB: The Woolmark Company has improved China’s wool industry from very basic beginnings, to making it amongst the best in the world. AWI has done well at promoting wool as producers are even seeing the results with an increased demand for wool leading to higher wool prices. The Woolmark Company is working closely with the industry to change the image of traditional wool and help develop innovative products including fabrics that are water resistant, machine washable, wool denim and wool blends. NW: Half of the wool bought by China is consumed in China at retail, so this is obviously very important to the wool industry. AWI along with Woolmark are doing a really good job of targeting this emerging middle class in China, informing them about the benefits of wool, and in turn working with processors and brands to make fashionable garments that champion the natural benefits of wool. A classic example would be a conversation we had with a young Chinese woman in a restaurant about wool. She had no idea where wool came from but was aware of The Woolmark Company and the benefits of wearing wool and why you should buy it. So, the main part of the message to ‘buy wool’ is there. Having been on this trip, do you as a young woolgrower, feel more confident about the future of the Australian wool industry? FB: I definitely feel a lot more confident about the future of the Australian wool industry after visiting China and hearing their perceptions of the world’s wool industry. About 75% of Australian wool is exported to China now for early-stage processing, and with an increasing demand for a natural fibre that is recyclable and biodegradable, the wool industry should have a good, stable future. Currently wool makes up only 1.2% of global fibre supply, with Australian wool sitting at 0.34%. I think that we, as young woolgrowers, have the perfect opportunity to aim to increase our supply of quality wool to this growing industry. NW: Yes. There is increasing confidence from woolgrowers mainly due to price rises, and it was pleasing to see this confidence being reflected by those paying the higher prices at the other end of the supply chain. with woolgrowers Felicity and Nick Nicholas Weeding is seventh generation at his family’s Tasmanian property ‘Weedington’, running 5,300 breeding ewes which produce an average of 18.5 micron wool. OFF FARM 27
In the Shops - September 2018