26 Oct 2010

Legal battle seen as distraction from levy case

6:03 am on 26 October 2010

A specialist fine wool marketer says a still unresolved legal battle over old Wool Board levies has been a huge distraction for the business.

Peter Radford, of the Escorial wool company, is part of a Saxon sheep breed group that began court action in 2007.

They have been seeking to recover about $4 million in levies paid to the former Board, which they say used the money to fund rivals in the Merino industry.

The group is still waiting on a decision from the Court of Appeal, which re-heard the case about four months ago, under instruction from the Supreme Court.

Despite the legal distractions, Mr Radford says international interest has been growing in the Saxon wool that's being marketed as a different fibre from merino wool.

He says about 50 farmers in New Zealand and Australia are producing wool from Saxon sheep, amounting to about 300 tonnes per year.