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Beyond the Bale : Jun 07 - Jul 07 Supplement
14 BEYOND THE BALE LAND,WATER & WOOL SUPPLEMENT FUTURE WOOLSCAPES It will come as no surprise to woolgrowers to find that they will be operating in a different world in 25 years' time, but now there are four very different possible scenarios (or 'worlds') to stimulate debate about just how different it will be. 'World A: the squeeze continues' describes a time where the consumer rules and health and the environment are key issues. Like-minded woolgrowers exploit environmental accreditation and consumer health-consciousness as part of an industry marketing strategy.They are quick to adopt advanced technologies, such as virtual fencing and new reproductive techniques. Specialist growers are still profitable, but woolgrowing almost disappears from pastoral areas. In 'World B: fashion police rule' there are strict rules on the use of land, water and vegetation. Agriculture is compelled by consumer demand to operate under environmental accreditation.The sheep industry polarises into wool and lamb specialists. Fine wool is marketed as a specialist 'green' product aimed at rich consumers. and operates mainly in non- arable country due to surging world demand for food. 'World C: accredited crimp is king' predicts a hi-tech, high-regulation world where wool diversifies into many end products. Research is opening up big new markets, especially medical. Growers need a licence By 2030, the average woolgrower could face a doubling of synthetic fibre production, a fall of two per cent a year in the real price of wool and consumers who expect farms to have minimal impact on the environment. Wool competes with cropping for reliable rainfall country. The 'new age farmer' has more business skills, but there will be less labour available, and woolgrowing might be more closely scrutinised by governments, consumers and society. But the application of new emerging technologies may well underpin a vibrant exciting industry. Science fiction or reality? These are just some of the findings in four alternative scenarios drawn together by the Future Woolscapes sub-program. Land, Water & Wool asked leading growers and technical experts to explore how the world and the wool industry might evolve in the coming 25 years, in the areas of technology trends, fibre markets, consumer demand, climate change and on-farm management. Panels of experts created the scenarios based on whether regulation in society increases or decreases and whether wool has one main end-use (apparel) or develops a range of new ones, such as medical and industrial applications. The four scenarios are not predictions of what will happen. They are scenarios of what might happen -- or what could happen if the industry wants it to. The insights gained from Future Woolscapes are being applied by AWI in its planning, and reveal a number of key factors that will help individual growers prepare for the future: ú synthetic fibre production (mainly polyester) is likely to grow unabated from 57 to 107 million tonnes, and will continue to mimic the properties of natural fibres; ú producers may face increasing scrutiny from governments and consumers, and will need to be able to track fibre and demonstrate the degree of sustainability and welfare in its production; ú the real price of wool could continue to fall by about two per cent a year -- productivity improvements and the adoption of new technology will be paramount; ú the woolgrower population will continue to age, from an average of 55 to 60 years, and manual labour will be increasingly difficult to find; ú some specialist wool production may move into less-arable areas, due to competition from cropping in reliable-rainfall country -- the scale of the farm and its ownership structure may alter substantially; ú consumers are likely to be even more focused on value for money and health and wellbeing in their purchasing ; and USING THE FUTURE TO SHAPE THE PRESENT Panels of exper ts have come up with four scenarios of what the wool industry may look like in 25 years' time ú by 2030 there will be eight billion people in the world, most with instant access to information and keen to follow the 'footprint' of any product they purchase. As futurist Bronwynne Jones, from LookOut Futuring Services, says: "When thinking about the future, it is not about being right, but about being ready." ú More information: See back page for Land,Water & Wool Future Woolscapes sub-program publications, and see www.landwaterwool.gov.au for more resources. What in the world...? The future of woolgrowing JIM MOLL to operate and face regular audits.The word 'wool' can only be applied to fibre of 18 micron and finer. Twenty per cent of production is from shedded sheep.The origin of wool is trackable and consumers can identify the property from the garment label. 'World D: wool ain't wool' also paints a future where wool has developed many novel end-uses. A united, aggressive industry develops a whole-of-value- chain approach and a global chain of 'eco' stores to market its certified products. Processing is done in eco-parks close to major markets. Grower focus is on easy-care sheep and strict specification to meet market demands. Sheep and wool products include cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, apparel, industrial and electronic goods.
Aug 07 - Sep 07
Jun 07 - Jul 07