30 Nov 2017

Wool price drop hits farmers

2:03 pm on 30 November 2017

Wool producers are struggling to get by as export values continue to plunge, a Marlborough sheep farmer says.

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Export values in the four months to October were 10 percent down on the same period last year. Photo: 123RF

The latest wool export data shows volumes rose 14 percent in the four months to October, compared to the same period last year.

But overall values are down 10 percent as prices for strong, medium and cross-bred wool keep dropping.

Marlborough sheep farmer Derrick Millton said it was a bleak outlook for those like him.

"The cost of harvesting wool and getting it prepared for sale and being sold has gone up, and in the last six months I think many second-shear wool producers will have just broken even with their shearing costs.

"That's not a very happy industry when that's happening," he said.

"I think it's been a difficult year and I think wool farmers are just looking at it like a complete by-product."

Mr Millton said farmers needed prices to get back up to $3-$5 per kilogram to have enough margin for a profit.

"I don't think think there's any profit in strong wool in the last six months, anywhere."

The industry had to try to turn things around before it was too late, he said.

"We need to see more collaboration and better prices of course, because with better prices will come a better product and New Zealand's reputation for strong wool has always been good in the world, but as the price drops the quality drops too, so we will become a poorer quality producer to the world, and that will go on for a long time if we let that happen."

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