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PGG Wrightson Wool Organic
10 February 2021

Wool News: Demand For Organic Wool Growing

Often profitability is thought to be directly linked to how much can be produced on the land available.

However, this is not always the case – especially when wool prices are at historically low levels, and meat prices are no longer as high as we have seen in the past.

Imagine if you could reduce the input cost on farm by cutting out fertilisers, sprays, drenches etc, and then at the same time increase the value of your products.

To many that probably sounds too good to be true, but in fact that is what a dedicated group of Certified Organic sheep farmers are doing very successfully right here in New Zealand.

Yes, production volumes might be lower when farming organically, but the value of the product will be higher and the cost of the farm inputs are likely to be lower.

There are a growing number of people around the world who are prepared to buy organic meat and wool bedding products at a substantial premium, in order to have assurances that what they eat and where they sleep is free of chemical residues.

Over the past 15 years PGG Wrightson’s International Sales & Marketing company, Bloch & Behrens (B+B) has developed a strong market for crossbred Certified Organic wool. At a time when conventional second shear wool is only selling for around $1.75 c/kg clean, B+B is obtaining a premium for certified organic sheep farmers at $4.50 c/kg, and demand is growing, says Bloch & Behrens General Manager, Palle Petersen who also adds “we expect to see significant premiums in place for the long term”.

Organic Wool PGG Wrightson

There is hope amongst organic sheep farmers, that with the changing of the guard in the USA, that market conditions will improve and will open up some fresh opportunities to sell organic meat at a good premium, so overall existing organic farmers are very optimistic about the future.

Another key aspect of organic farming is to improve the general health of the land by no longer using chemicals and finding other ways to improved soil health. Many organic farmers have also had previous health issues themselves, and by switching to organic farming they have first-hand experience of the improved health benefits for them and their families.

When you become a supplier of Certified Organic wool to PGG Wrightson’s / Bloch & Behrens, you are not just selling bales of greasy good colour second shears, lambswool, bellies and pieces. You are selling your story of how you are producing wool that can be used safely in products for people who might have allergies, or who want to ensure that their children are sleeping in a safe environment totally free of any chemical residues. Other consumers are willing to pay a premium for their Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified products because they are concerned about environmental and sustainability issues, so they want to support products that can guarantee the land is looked after in the best possible way for future generations.  

We STRONGLY believe that this consumer trend will continue to grow, so we see a great opportunity for farmers who want to embark on this journey. It does take time and effort to get there, but it can be a rewarding process in many ways.

If you think organic farming might be worth exploring, please do not hesitate to contact us via your local PGW Wool Rep, as we would likely be able to arrange for you to have a chat with one of our existing organic farmers, who will be more than happy to share their experiences with you, and provide some guidance on how to proceed.

You can also contact one of the two certifying bodies in NZ, or check out their websites for more information:

Organic certification from both these organisations is recognised by GOTS, so once your wool is certified by Assure Quality or Biogro to the IFOAM or USDA NOP standard, it can be used in GOTS certified products.

GOTS

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Wool News: Wool Experiment Teaching Lifelong Lessons

10 February 2021

School students in a small Central Otago town are learning first-hand about some of the environmental benefits of wool compared to synthetic fibre, which is easier to describe as plastic fibre in today’s world.

Thanks to a challenge put to St Johns School, Ranfurly in 2018 by PGG Wrightson Wool representative Graeme Bell whilst he was there assisting with the educational resource known as “The Wool Shed”, he laid down the challenge to the school to bury two jerseys as an experiment, one jersey being 100% wool, the second being a typical synthetic polar fleece school jersey. The experiment was to see what they would look like once they were dug up 2 years later.

In December 2020 at the schools year 8 graduation day, the same students dug up the two items and the wool jersey whilst had not disintegrated yet it was clear for all to see that the biodegradation process had begun.

Unsurprisingly, the polar fleece was unaffected by 2 years in the ground. “The cotton school logo had gone, but apart from that you could give it a good shake and a wash and it would be good to wear again” says Graeme.

The kids are witnessing first-hand the natural biodegradable properties of wool and cotton fibres.

Graeme’s idea for the challenge was brought about by a similar exercise performed by HRH Prince of Wales who is the global patron for the Campaign for Wool. Prince Charles has buried several jerseys over the years to help promote some of the benefits of wool and you can read more about his activities here.

St Johns School teacher, Geraldine Duncan said that performing this experiment was a great idea and had created a great level of interest from the children. “We hope that the seed it has planted in their young minds will help their environmental consciousness as they grow into responsible young men and women. We are aiming to dig the jerseys up again at the end of 2021” said Geraldine.

The portable “Wool Shed” is part of the Wool in Schools programme promoted by the “Campaign for Wool” and proudly sponsored by PGG Wrightson Wool. Schools can book the container free of charge.

Learn more about the benefits of wool here.

Wool News: Wool Auction at The Show

10 February 2021
Last year The NZ Agricultural Show produced an Online A & P Show which featured PGG Wrightson.

Here is some of the footage that was captured which brings to life the platform where exporters converge and compete for wool in the open cry auction.

Good feed conditions lifting South Island livestock markets

12 February 2021

Positive feed conditions are generating confidence among South Island farmers, which is flowing through to a rising livestock market.

PGG Wrightson South Island Livestock Manager Shane Gerken says plenty of rain in late December and early January has given farmers a bonus.

“With the weather we had over Christmas, especially in South Canterbury, North and East Otago and Southland, where moisture was sorely needed, farmers throughout the South Island benefited from feed conditions improving out of sight. After the rains, parts of Canterbury are starting to dry out again, as is normal for this time of year. Many farmers are motivated either to buy store stock to capitalise on the excellent growth, or bank surplus feed in the haybarn for supplementary use later in the season. 

“Based on that confidence, demand at the South Island on-farm lamb sales is strong. Buyers at these sales are determined, and the market is rising. Store lamb sale prices have increased 40 cents, from between $2.70 to $2.80 per kilogram pre-Christmas to between $3.10 and $3.30 per kilogram in early February,” he says.

South Island ewe fairs for the year began in late January with two tooth sales at Temuka and Lorneville. Border Leicester-Romneys topped the sales, with the best pens at Lorneville making $312 and Temuka $302 per head. For the general run of two tooths, prices ranged from $220 to $260.

Meanwhile, although venison sales are severely impacted by the Covid-induced global closure of restaurants, deer famers remain upbeat.

“Recent South Island stag sales have been well attended by good galleries of buyers. Although average prices are back slightly on last year, clearance rates in those sales have been encouraging.

Evidently, deer farmers have sufficient confidence to invest in the genetics they require to continue improving their herds, and capitalise once the venison schedule rebounds. Velvet sales by volume increasing 20 per cent this season, and likely to rise further as Asian cultures place ever greater value on the product’s capacity to boost immune function, is also positive news for deer farmers, and another factor in their underlying confidence,” says Shane Gerken.

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