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Beyond the Bale : Feb 07 - Mar 07
13 MARKETING MERINO BEYOND THE BALE Rural Industries Research &Development Corporation PO Box 4776 KINGSTON ACT 2604 Tel: 02 6272 4819 Fax: 02 6272 5877 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ABN: 25 203 754 319 Feeding Horses in Australia - A Guide for Owners and Managers. By J Kohnke et al. All about feeding horses of all breeds and uses. Pub. No. 99/049, RRP $31 Plants Poisonous to Horses. By M Offord. Details many Aus- tralian grown plants potentially poison- ous to horses. In full colour and comes with a large poster. Pub No. 06/048, RRP $30 Producing Quality Oat Hay.ByPZwerandM Faulkner. A comprehen- sive guide on oat hay production for growers and processors. Has the latest developments and research findings on how to grow, make and deliver high quality oat hay. Pub No. 06/002, RRP $30 RIRDCNew ideas for farmers Both for $50 RIRDC has over 1500 research publications. Most can be downloaded from our website---www.rirdc.gov.au or purchased by phoning 02 6272 4218 or visiting www.rirdc.gov.au/eshop Tasmanian woolgrower Nan Bray. In the 1980s,Tasmania produced 150,000 bales of wool a year, in the 1990s it was about 90,000 bales.Today,Tasmania produces about 70,000 bales a year. "Producers are voting with their feet and are not growing wool," Mr Hutchinson says. "We could sit back and hope that demand reflects price. But the dominance of China is making us all compete on a price basis and this does not suit wool. Hence the need for Wool Link." He says AWI has been very supportive of the program. By the end of the 2006-07 financial year, he hopes Wool Link will have three contracts in the outdoor/active wear market. "It will say to me that the structure is working, but also that we're just scratching the surface." The initiative also reflects the industry's changing mood. "The wool industry is different to what it was 20 years ago and we need to accept that.We also have to realise that there is no one solution to turning things around, but this initiative is a good start." For woolgrower Nan Bray, who produces about 50 bales of 16 to17-micron wool a year,Wool Link is "one of the most positive steps anyone in the industry has taken. If this works for end-users and us then it will be applicable across the whole industry. At the end of the day, top-quality wool should not be hard to sell, it's just that the marketing has to target the end-user effectively." -- REBECCA THYER More information: www.robertsltd.com.au and interior applications as key end-user segments. For example, Mr Hutchinson says the North American activewear market is a wealthy demographic with which wool fits well. "This segment includes people who play in the outdoors and like natural products.Wool is a nice match because it fits with their environmental and sustainable ethos and is also a technical fibre." The Japanese wovens and knitwear market is also important. "This is a very wealthy market," he says. "In general, this consumer is used to wearing a high level of wool and they will pay for quality in knitwear, wovens and next-to-skin products." This market also has a high awareness of, and a fascination with,Tasmania as a legacy of tourism. "Japan is our biggest export market," Mr Hutchinson says. Underlying the whole approach is the need to 'de- commodify' wool. "There is really no way we can compete on price with other fibres or reward growers properly for their efforts." Mr Hutchinson acknowledges there needs to be certainty that improved and more stable financial returns will be available in the future. "And certainty will come from developing strong relationships with customers." For Roberts, the Wool Link program is also one of self- preservation. It handles just under 80 per cent of Tasmania's wool but has seen its wool business drop consistently over the past 20 years. PHOTO: REBECCA THYER one of a group of Tasmanian woolgrowers who have been revitalised by the Wool Link program. Roberts' marketing manager Eric Hutchinson says the program was born out of a need to provide producers with clearer and better price signals and a greater degree of certainty and involvement in the fibre market. The road to Wool Link began about five years ago when Roberts, together with The Merino Company, started engaging more with end-users -- designers and clothing manufacturers -- to boost marketing options. The initiative targets consumers and works back down the value chain, Mr Hutchinson says. "But to get to consumers we need to deal with the retailers and apparel companies. With a clear brief on what they want, we can reverse-engineer a product for them to deliver to consumers." Because the industry does not have the money or resources to blanket consumers with messages about wool, Wool Link is strategically targeting end-markets, identifying outdoor wear, sportswear, suiting and wovens, classic knitwear
Feb 07 - Mar 07 Supplement
Dec 06 - Jan 07