15 Dec 2011

Low offering at wool auction

6:32 am on 15 December 2011

Wool exporters are questioning some estimates of sheep numbers as they face another sale on Thursday with a lower than expected offering of wool.

About 15,500 bales of North and South Island wool will be auctioned on Thursday.

That's 2000 more than exporters were expecting last week, but is still 7000 short of what had been rostered for the sale earlier in the season.

New Zealand Wool Services International says the uncertainty over sheep numbers has made it difficult to estimate wool volumes.

Marketing executive Malcolm Ching says the number of stock held now is unknown, some say New Zealand has 31.5 million sheep, while others say there are 28 million.

Mr Ching says the amount of the roster was set about six months ago, but it's a phase where sheep numbers around New Zealand are altering dramatically for a number of reasons.

He says different areas are changing their farming practices, such as Southland which is moving to dairying very rapidly.