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Wool News: Kevin Waldron Staff Profile
8 April 2021

Wool News: Staff Profile - Kevin Waldron Building relationships is the key

Leaving school, which was in Oamaru, Kevin Waldron went straight into wool. Forty two years later, and the fibre has been his career ever since.

Kevin joined Wrightson NMA in July 1978 as a trainee wool classer, at first in the store. Times changed however, and with more wool classed in the shed, from 1982 Kevin became an independent wool classer, working farm to farm, building up a classing run of around 90,000 sheep per annum over 19 years. In the off-season Kevin was first a freezing worker, then a sorter at the wool scour; until a work accident in 2000 put an end to such a physical occupation.

In 2001 he joined Reid Farmers as a wool representative, a role he has held since, albeit several amalgamations led to the company evolving into PGG Wrightson.

Covering the Otago region, Kevin says the most important part of the job is ensuring his clients’ wool is well prepared at harvesting.

“We need to make sure the clip is prepared the best possible way, so it makes the best possible return for the grower. Wool preparation can change depending on different market demands. Recently the crossbred wool market has changed, with good coloured wools now earning a premium.

“Our job is to put wool through the selling system efficiently, with no hiccups. This requires good communication with both clients and woolstore staff,” he says.

Building relationships with farmers, shearers, shed hands and woolstore colleagues is the key to the job.

“Developing trust comes from honesty and efficiency. That is the most satisfactory part of the job.

“Otago’s weather produces the best wool in the country, especially crossbred wools. Our climate is not too humid or too wet, which gives our wool the best consistency of colour. However, our busiest time is pre-lamb shearing, which now starts in June, several weeks earlier than it was 20 years ago. Shearing when wet brings challenges. Shearing through pleasant winter weather, with frosty mornings, is fine. However, any wet weather makes it almost impossible to keep the wool clean. Drying wool is also a challenge around the shortest day and can seriously disrupt shearing patterns. Wet sheepyards can easily lead to mud and pen stain in the wool, and a downgraded clip,” says Kevin.

What Kevin reckons the wool sector most needs is increased demand, for strong wool in particular, though he has faith it will happen.

“Growers must be patient. Demand for wool will come again. In the meantime, don’t throw away genetics. When growers are tempted to diversify, they need to be careful. In Otago diversifying usually means putting up cattle numbers or dairy grazing. Farmers need to be ready to put more emphasis on wool for when the market rebounds,” he says.

Outside work Kevin enjoys sport, particularly rugby, cricket and golf.

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Wool News: Staff Profile - Marcus Loader Believing in our fibre

08 April 2021
Known for being straight up, honest and to the point Marcus Loader is sold on wool, and recommends everyone else in the sector should take the same approach.

“We need to believe in what we produce. When you look at competing synthetic products, they are promoted by big companies. Those that shout the loudest sell the most. We need to learn how to market wool positively. To make sure we are heard by the population we need to believe in our sustainable, renewable, natural, biodegradable fibre, and tell our story,” he says.

Marcus has been PGG Wrightson wool representative for Wairarapa, based in Masterton, since 2010.

After growing up on a local sheep and beef property, managed by his father, Marcus always knew his future was in agriculture, though after being among the last graduates of the Massey Wool Diploma in 1990, he took a 15 year detour into dairy farming, heading to the Waikato to milk cows.

“We moved into sharemilking, and owned a 150 cow farm for three years, though staff became a massive issue, and we wanted to come back to Wairarapa. Fortunately the shares and land values peaked in 2006, while the payout was declining, and we sold up at just the right time,” he says.

Back to his home region, Marcus wouldn’t swap.

“It is a renowned farming district with genuine strong hill country, and the farms are well cared for.

“On the coastal country with its wind we can grow the brightest, whitest wool. I drive around 70,000 kilometres per annum, and it’s a very nice part of New Zealand to do that mileage in. I enjoy the countryside and visiting well looked-after properties,” he says.

Despite the winning vistas and well-tended farms, low returns are a challenge.

“In the more marginal parts of the region, forestry and carbon credits have driven significant land use change recently. In some parts of Pongaroa you’re looking at miles of dots: several farms, a huge area, all sold for trees. While the previous owners decided to sell for genuine reasons, it is difficult to see these properties taken out of farming.

“Fortunately, we still have plenty of good farmers out there growing a genuine product. Some show the benefits of 30 years of genetics, improving their clip out of all recognition, sticking to strong wool, growing for wool weight, keeping faith in our fibre.

“A good percentage of farmers still believe wool will come back. While we have that, there is hope. So many excellent farmers have put so much in with genetics, ultimately they will receive the rewards they deserve, though unfortunately that is just not quite yet,” says Marcus.

His advice to wool growers is consistent.

“I tell all my clients to keep producing the best product they can, then through careful shed hand work make sure the presentation is the best it can be. In a tough marketplace the best quality product is the easiest to sell,” he says.

Wool News: Tailored Insurance Solutions

08 April 2021

BrokerWeb Risk Services Limited (BWRS) are now providing leading insurance broking services to PGG Wrightson customers and the wider rural community.

BWRS is New Zealand’s largest independent insurance broker and specialises in the provision of quality insurance broking and risk management solutions for corporate, commercial, rural, and domestic insurance.

BWRS is committed to providing PGG Wrightson customers with an insurance solution that is based on advice and choice. BWRS understands that all circumstances are unique, and personalised advice and solutions are required to meet your needs.

Like PGG Wrightson, BWRS has a solid presence in the agribusiness sector and a nationwide reach. This association will help both build long-term relationships with customers active in primary production, enabling BWRS’s brokers to design tailored solutions that will work for farmers and protect their interests.

BWRS’s brokers have local knowledge and are able to provide customers with easy personal access to market-leading insurance products and risk advice.

Click here to find out more.

 

Lifestyle Insurance – Your Way

 Wool News: Lifestyle Insurance

As a lifestyle block owner you’ve chosen to live closer to nature and enjoy the best that New Zealand has to offer. Your space and how you use it is determined by you and your own circumstances. Our insurance solution provider, BWRS, believe that your insurance cover should be the same, which is why they are providing PGG Wrightson customers with an exclusive lifestyle insurance solution based on advice and choice.

Don’t pay for cover you don’t need, or get caught under-insured if the worst happens. Your Way allows you to select the optional cover benefits you need with limits appropriate to you.

Click here to find out more.

Wool News: Norsewear Wool Integrity "Boundless" apparel range - One hundred per cent kiwi sock

08 April 2021

PGG Wrightson Wool, alongside our International Sales and Marketing business Bloch and Behrens, has been working with Wool Integrity brand partner Norsewood Knitwear on a new range of products that include PGG Wrightson Wool with the Wool Integrity stamp.

Recently released under the brand Boundless available in charcoal or pink, and now exclusively available through PGG Wrightson retail stores and online, a work sock is the first product of this relationship followed by a beanie and gloves. Based on the classic Softly Softly, initially developed by Norsewear in the mid 1960s with a cushioned sole for comfort and a lighter weight upper to reduce bulk around the feet and ankles, the Boundless sock is 100 per cent produced in New Zealand.

Boundless uses a blend of the soft North Island lamb’s wool and South Island merino fibre including nylon reinforcing for the heel, all sourced through PGG Wrightson Wool Integrity partner growers. After scouring in Timaru and Napier the wool goes to WoolYarns New Zealand in Wellington for dying and spinning, before being sent to Norsewood Knitwear in the historic town of Norsewood, where the socks are produced.

Carrying the Wool Integrity brand, created by Bloch and Behrens in 2015, Boundless will be internationally recognised as meeting criteria around animal welfare, environmental sustainability, traceability and wool quality.

Wool Integrity growers abide by the internationally recognised freedoms of animal welfare: their sheep are free from thirst, hunger, discomfort, pain and disease, distress, and have the freedom to express their normal behaviour.

PGG Wrightson’s involvement at every step in the supply chain, from farm gate to retail, ensures a 100 per cent local product: part of our commitment to ensuring better returns for growers, and the wider industry.

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