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Wool News December 2019 Woolchemy
12 December 2019

Wool News: Wellington start up taking innovative new coarse wool concept to the world

NZ coarse wool innovation on-track to disrupt 78 billion USD global hygiene market.

A Wellington-based start up company, founded by a mother and daughter with a multi generation background in farming, has found a new way to add value to coarse wool that could revive the sector and promises to create fresh revenue opportunities for New Zealand wool growers.

Derelee Potroz Smith is CEO and founder of Woolchemy, which she established in partnership with her mother Angela Potroz. Derelee, whose professional background is in engineering and whose family has farmed in Taranaki since 1876, says the company has developed patented technology to use wool to replace petroleum-derived textiles in hygiene consumer products.

“Legislative and consumer pressure worldwide is bearing down on manufacturers to use sustainable resources and take responsibility for the full lifecycle of their products. Disposable personal hygiene products, which include nappies, feminine hygiene pads and incontinence pads, are hugely problematic in this respect. These products account for a global market valued at $US78 billion per annum.

“We have developed a commercially scalable process to re-engineer wool for greater absorbency, enabling liquids to penetrate the outer cuticle of the fibre. What we have produced matches the performance of the petroleum-derived equivalent textiles used in disposable personal hygiene products, while also adding extra benefits that only wool provides, such as natural temperature regulation and odour control.

“Every disposable nappy uses one cup of crude oil. Polyethylene has been used in hygiene products since the 1950s. Manufacturers and consumers moved away from wool so long ago that they have forgotten the properties that wool has that petrochemical-based products do not,” she says.

Using 33-39 micron New Zealand coarse wool, Woolchemy’s ecofriendly biotechnology process creates an ultrathin lightweight biodegradable composite material for manufacture and supply by the roll to the multinationals that market disposable nappy brands.

Derelee says Woolchemy’s strategy is to collaborate with key pharmaceutical and fast moving consumer goods companies to licence intellectual property and supply sustainable non-woven textiles. “Although there is huge demand for products that are ecologically sustainable, consumers still prefer the convenience of disposability, and this demand is not likely to change quickly.

“We are providing a basic material that fits those two characteristics. Ultimately we aim to assist the production of 100 per cent biodegradable products to manufacturers who currently rely heavily on unsustainable petrochemical based materials,” she says.

Having taken approximately nine years to optimise their revolutionary textile, Woolchemy will go into commercial production in 2020, using 40 tonnes of coarse wool initially, rising to more than 200 tonnes within three years.

“We will ensure wool is sourced from New Zealand, where we can attest to the quality, traceability and responsible production standards of the output product to our specifications.

“We currently have a growing list of more than 20 different applications we intend to develop as we grow,” says Derelee.

In the United States 20 billion disposable nappies go to landfill every year, creating 3.5 million tons of waste, which takes 500 years to decompose.

PGG Wrightson Wool welcomes these new, innovative, biodegradable products, promoting health and well-being, using natural crossbred wool grown and harvested caringly by New Zealand’s sheep farmers.

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Growing Growing Gone - Ram Sales December Update

09 December 2019

At PGG Wrightson Livestock Genetics we help our clients develop better strategies, design better breeding programs and nurture better bloodlines. Contact us today.

Auction results from the season so far:

  • Grassendale Beltex suftex 43/48 avg $1021, ¼ Beltex suftex x 20/21 $1290, ½ Beltex $16163.
  • Nikau Coopworth 94/96 avg $2059.
  • Waimai Romney 80/80 avg $2890, Char Black 20/20 avg $1120.
  • Mana Romney 30/32 avg $1550.
  • Banklea Romney 21/30 avg $1314.
  • Kahu Coopworth’s 20/20 avg $1725, Romworth 17/20 ang $1425, Coopdale 6/18 avg $1000.
  • Ashgrove Coopworth 84/87 avg $1908, suftex 24/24 avg $1206.
  • Raupuha Perendales 57/57 avg $2450, Romdales45/45 avg $2104, Suftex 29/40 $957, Beltex 10/10 avg $1150, Suffolk 14/35 avg $957.
  • Paparata Romney 114/120 avg $1089.
  • Manu Poll Dorset 51/51 $1050.
  • Goldstream Suffolk’s 43/43 avg $1026, Poll Dorset’s 33/43 $883.
  • Elite Charolais 56/70 $1212.
  • McMillan Shedding Sheep (Wiltshire’s) 100/102 $1704.
  • Shabor Wiltshire avg $1117.
  • Glengarry Poll Dorset 128/128 avg $1476.
  • Kiktangeo Romney’s 112/146 avg $1948, Terminals $1219.
  • Ratanui Suffmax 51/51 avg $1115.
  • Kiloran Poll Dorset 72/73 avg $862.
  • Adelong Poll Dorset 113/120 avg $1100, Suftex PDX 40/45 $746.
  • Merrydowns Romney’s 126/140 avg $1585, Southdowns’ 79/85 avg $1167.
  • Otago Coopworth 28/31 avg $1425.
  • Meadowslea Genetics 275 rams in total, Romneys avg $1650, Romdales avg $1260, Perendale Texel x avg $1700, Romney Texel x Romney avg $1700, Texel x Romneys $1230, ¼ Texel x ¾ Romney $1000, Kelso x Romney avg $1230, Kelso Maternal avg 41000, Kelso Terminals avg $1300, Average across all breeds $1372.

Wool News: Lammermoor Organic – a great yarn

12 December 2019

Early in 2019 Oliver Edwards of yarn distributor Naturally Handknit Yarns was looking to include an organic NZ grown and NZ made hand knitting yarn to their product range and took his idea to Peter Chatterton of Napier yarn company Design Spun, who then approached PGG Wrightson Wool’s International sales and marketing team, Bloch & Behrens. He needed to locate an organic farm able to supply its wool, plus a compelling yarn to tell the tale. GM of Bloch & Behrens Palle Petersen found the perfect match. 

Palle introduced Peter to John and Susan Elliot of Lammermoor Station, Central Otago, New Zealand’s only certified organic fine/ medium sheep farm. John and Susan have long been wanting to establish a long term partnership to showcase the unique attributes of their wool, as well as their historic property. They are very excited about this collaboration which aims to provide long term benefits.

Fast forward eight months, in early 2020 Naturally Handknit Yarns will launch its new Lammermoor Organic range via retail stockists throughout New Zealand and Australia. Oliver Edwards believes the “farm to yarn” story is one that can be appreciated Internationally. Oliver is excited to add a quality New Zealand organic yarn to his company’s range, particularly with the connection to the majestic Maniototo scenery, the land, the animals and the people that make Lammermoor Station, aiming to give knitters an authentic feel for how and where their wool is grown.

Yarn manufacturer Design Spun was established by a group of Perendale farmers in 1979, building a mill in 1984. It is now New Zealand sole remaining worsted, modified worsted and fancy yarn spinner.

Peter Chatterton says bringing different segments of the supply chain together is the most practical way to add value to wool. “The collaboration between John and Susan Elliot of Lammermoor Station, PGG Wrightson/Bloch & Behrens, Design Spun and Naturally Handknit Yarns as the finished yarn distributor brings four parties into this venture, enabling a traceability and marketing story for the participants, which is an exciting development for all.

PGG Wrightson has recently welcomed Design Spun as a Wool Integrity NZ™ Brand Partner. Wool Integrity gives its partners’ products full traceability from farm to yarn on any compliant wool sourced through the PGG Wrightson/Bloch & Behrens network. Palle Petersen says he is thrilled to have a local New Zealand company join the Wool Integrity family.

A list of New Zealand retail outlets for the Lammermoor Organic range of handknit yarns is available on: www.naturallyyarnsnz.com

Learn more about Lammermoor Station here: www.lammermoorstation.co.nz

Livestock Market Update December 2019

13 December 2019

Sheep & Beef

Shane Gerken - South Island Livestock Manager

There has been a number of livestock sales going on through December as there is always the mad rush before Christmas.

Farmers are busy weaning, to capture the good prices for lambs and ewes. Historically schedule prices start falling back as the numbers of lambs and ewes start flowing into the works. 

The demand from overseas markets has seen record prices being paid for both sheep and lamb. This has also flowed through to the store lamb market as farmers wanting to finish lambs have been actively competing on farm or through saleyards.

The cattle market has seen buyers more selective on the types of cattle that is being purchased, with traditional cattle being the preference. 

 

Dairy     

Jamie Cunningham - National Dairy Sales Manager 

Favourable spring weather throughout the country left most districts with plenty of feed, boding well for trade in dairy livestock. PGG Wrightson National Dairy Livestock Manager Jamie Cunninghame says North Island farmers were particularly keen to capitalise on the surplus.

“North Island spring sales of in-milk cows were buoyant with most districts awash with feed. Although the quality of livestock going through the sales was variable, vendors are happy with the market response. South Island dairy livestock markets have also been enthusiastic, albeit slightly more muted than those in the north,” he said.

Meanwhile, export of dairy heifers to China may have an impact on the supply of heifers for next season.

“Exports have been growing. In the year to February 2020 between 40,000 and 50,000 dairy heifers will have left for China. That creates a cashflow opportunity for those selling. However, it will also reduce the supply, potentially creating difficulties for those farmers seeking to buy heifers in May or June next year,” said Jamie.

Continued record high prices for manufacturing beef are flowing through to the dairy sector with dairy beef sales showing healthy profits particularly in the North Island, and well sought-after service bulls set to roll back through the system during December and January.

 

Genetics       

Ryan Shannon - Livestock Genetics Representative

With the ram selling season well underway all over the country, we have seen a strong demand for good rams reflecting the lamb and mutton schedule. This is expected to remain high as demand for protein rich foods increases from overseas markets. 

This is giving confidence to farmers who are willing to re-invest in premium genetics for the upcoming season, seeing the value in added performance and production from their selections. Maternal rams with a genetic tolerance to facial eczema demanded a premium in areas where commercial farmers are on board with recognising these sires as a tool to future proofing their breeding flocks. Those stud breeders optimising their systems with the use of technology and tools previously unavailable, are being rewarded for their extra vigilance and long may this continue. 

There is never a better time to get in contact with your local genetics specialist or commercial rep to get the most from your flock. Selecting the best genetics will increase the performance of your breeding program.

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