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Beyond the Bale : Dec 06 - Jan 07
By Gio Braidotti Figures from wool auction sales have confirmed that significant premiums for staple-tested lots are available to woolgrowers across all micron and strength grades, including tender wool, with the price gains outstripping typical test costs. Based on national figures provided by the Woolmark Company, the analysis was commissioned by Australian Wool Testing Authority (AWTA) Ltd, which is concerned that growers, especially in NSW, might be tempted to sell their wool untested in an attempt to economise on tests that typically cost four cents per kilogram clean. Ian Ashman, AWTA general manager for customer relations, says the sales figures show that benefits above the cost of testing were available in 2005-06 for all micron categories and all lot sizes, including small lots. "The significant premiums for staple-tested lots reflect the value that wool processors place on this information," Mr Ashman says. "The overwhelming message from the analysis is that staple testing pays handsomely, and I urge all growers, brokers and dealers to read the AWTA report and take advantage of these clear price signals." For the 2005-06 season as a whole, the national premium for Merino fleece averaged 52c/kg clean with significant premiums payed for all lot sizes. While on the whole the premiums were softer than in the previous year, Mr Ashman says that even tender-fleece wool that was staple-tested showed significant premiums over untested wool. In fact, a premium was paid in all strength grades, ranging from 76 (25 to 30 Newtons per kilotex range) through to 41 for weak wools testing less than 25N/ktex). "Even if a producer's wool is tender, they are generally better off having it tested, as buyers expect to have the information available and may build in a discount for wool that is untested, suspecting that the grower is hiding something," says Mr Andrew Lindsay, the sampling operations manager for NSW and ueensland who helped produce the report. For Merino pieces, premiums were fairly stable at 33 over a range of microns (18.1 to 22.0 microns), while for crossbred fleece wool premiums averaged 10 /kg. "Despite the premiums paid for skirting types, NSW producers are particularly reluctant to test skirting, with only 45 per cent of NSW skirting sold at auction being length and strength tested compared to 80 per cent in Victoria and 60 per cent in WA," Mr Lindsay says. The results of the analysis commissioned by AWTA Ltd have been published in Premiums for Staple Measurement, available from AWTA's website. ú More information: Ian Ashman, 03 9371 4103, www.awta.com.au Figures support value of staple testing Woolgrowers are being urged to consider staple length and strength measurements as the AWTA keeps its charges at the same rate for the fourth consecutive year 13 INNOVATION BEYOND THE BALE By Kellie Penfold The wool industry has taken an important step towards addressing the challenges facing wool har vesting with the first sale of an innovative Upright Posture Shearing Platform (UPSP). Bill Byrne of Peak Hill Industries, who designed and created the ShearEzy concept with co-funding from AWI, will deliver the first of the new improved ShearEzy shearing platforms to a NSW woolgrower in 2007. This latest version is smaller, faster and less expensive version of the earlier model displayed at the 2005 AWI AGM in Adelaide and in July 2006 at the Seventh AWI World Merino Conference in Perth. The ShearEzy platform is currently in field trials and has also been demonstrated at several recent field days and at the 2006 AWI AGM to very positive feedback from woolgrowers, contractors and shearers. Comments from people viewing the ShearEzy in action include: ú "A great outcome for the R&D dollars invested." ú "Looks like I won't need to build that new shearing shed." ú "I'll be able to keep shearing forever." ú "Finally something that provides a positive change to the way we shear." ú "It looks as easy as ironing!" Ben Swain, AWI's project manager for the UPSP field trials, says the UPSP development program is demonstrating the potential to meet the tough targets AWI has set and the innovation will soon be delivered to wool producers. "The single-stand ShearEzy is now in commercial production and the next stage will be to take that even further into a two or four-machine mobile unit that could replace a traditional shearing shed set up," Mr Swain says. "In field trials, the ShearEzy is showing excellent productivity, while in Western Australia Peter Black and Darryl Cole have designed a machine that also looks promising and will be starting large-scale field trials very soon. "The SLAMP machine in Victoria is coming to the end of its field trials, at which stage a full analysis will be carried out. AWI is also working with two companies in New Zealand who appear to have innovative designs for shearing platforms, but it is early days there and we are quite a way from trials." Via displays and field trials, AWI has identified three key markets for UPSPs: ú contractors who would own a UPSP and run a mobile service or lease out the machine to growers -- Mr Swain suggests this could suit all types of shearers, especially those who enjoy shearing but want to avoid the wear-and-tear on their bodies, or contractors in areas with larger, difficult-to-shear sheep; ú woolgrowers who would like to shear their own sheep at their own pace using their own labour; and ú grower groups -- where growers pool-in to buy one or more machines to be used by all members of the group, with the contractor supplying shearer labour in a similar way to conventional shearing. "The beauty of an UPSP is it creates a shearing shed out of any shed or yard area. It suits woolgrowers who don't have the infrastructure or, equally, someone who might move in and out of wool production as opportunities dictate." ú More information www.wool.com.au; Ben Swain, 02 6743 2306 The ShearEzy gets the thumbs-up and its first order 'It looks as easy as ironing.'The smaller, faster new version of the innovative Upright Posture Shearing Platform is being welcomed by growers and shearers The ShearEzy is the latest development in reducing the need for back- breaking labour in the shearing shed. 2005-06 National premiums for staple tested Merino wool across different fibre diameters Fibre diameter (micron range) Premiums (cents) per kg clean 16.1 to 17.0 64 17.1 to 18.0 37 18.1 to 19.0 60 19.1 to 20.0 61 20.1 to 21.0 57 21.1 to 24.0 48 24.1 to 26.0 47
Feb 07 - Mar 07