6 Oct 2011

Lanolin prices double due to decline in sheep numbers

7:57 am on 6 October 2011

The decline in sheep numbers has driven a significant lift in returns for lanolin.

Lanolin is a by-product extracted from wool during the scouring or cleaning process.

New Zealand Wool Services International (WSI) - one of the country's two scour operators - says prices for that product have almost doubled in the past two years.

WSI chairman Derek Kirke says like wool, the price surge has been driven by a world supply shortage, due to the drop in sheep numbers.

He says most of the lanolin is bought for cosmetics.

Mr Kirke says it's very high in cholesterol and because it apparently makes certain fish grow at very fast rates it is used in prawn farming in South East Asia.