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Wool News

Keep informed with Wool News which covers a range of topics including latest innovations, advice to wool growers and industry news.

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Shearers answer call to help
10 January 2020

Shearers answer call to help

The farming industry is uniting to help Shaun Bradley and his family through one of their biggest challenges.

Bradley, 28, is a Tapanui farm manager battling cancer. He has stage four B cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

West Otago communities have rallied around Bradley, his wife Olivia and their daughter Charlotte, who is 8-and-a-half months old. The couple recently celebrated their second wedding anniversary.

His employers, Nelson and Fiona Hancox, and PGG Wrightson wool buyer Jared Manihera, are arranging a 24-hour sheara-thon as a fundraiser for the family. The shear-a-thon will be held on February 6 and 7 at a Moa Flat farm belonging to Bradley’s employers. Manihera said the public were welcome to attend the event at 670 Wilden Runs Rd. It starts at 10am on the first day.

The Hancoxes own the 5500 ewe lambs being used and the money they would have paid shearing contractors will be donated to the Bradleys. More than 20 shearers from throughout the South Island will be in action.

The wool shed has five stands but for the shear-a-thon, seven will operate.

Two blade-shearers are also taking part.

‘‘The West Otago community is really good in times of need,’’

Nelson Hancox said. ‘‘Shaun’s a genuine, hard-working young guy.’’

Michelle Harrex, who won two open national shearing titles during the 1990s, is coming out of retirement to be part of the sheara-thon. ‘‘We heard it was on and wanted to support Shaun,’’ Harrex said.

She and husband Barry are Gore dairy farmers and occasionally shear the odd sheep. They were shearing contractors in Central Otago before selling up in 2000.

Bradley said it was incredibly humbling to receive the support.

‘‘I’m blown away by it, people are coming out of the woodwork with generosity.

‘‘It helps you get through a hard time . . . it’s incredible.’’

His cousin, Scott Stiven, is in charge of a stock drive to raise funds. For the past three weeks he has been collecting donated stock, selling them at the Charlton saleyards and giving the proceeds to the Bradleys.

About $10,000 has been raised from the sale of about 50 stock.

A farming community in North Canterbury is also running a stock drive for the Bradleys. The couple lived in North Canterbury before moving to West Otago three years ago.

‘‘It’s been amazing how many people have been keen to help out,’’ Stiven said.

Other groups helping with fundraising activities for the Bradleys include the West Otago Young Farmers and Lions Clubs and Heriot Rugby Club.

Article courtesy of Southland Times

23 December 2019

The wool farming year that was 2019

The Country's Jamie Mackay wraps up this year with PGG Wrightson's South Island wool procurement manager Rob Cochrane.

Cochrane brings in some good news with joint North and South Island sales of about 13,500 bales in a day. The market is going strong, lifting from 31 to 33 micron for crossbreed hogget wools.

Cochrane adds that they are "pleased to see the wool going off to Chinese buyers" in light of recent tariff releases.

The market has been helped by new season lamb's wool, particularly in the North Island, 27-28 micron crossbreed lambs have brought in good revenue.

Mackay brings up the issue of strong crossbreed ewe fleeces being a battle during 2019, and basically it has not moved. Cochrane agrees, the wool does sell but a lot of growers will see a negative in their wool check.

The wool auction season is set to kick off on the 9th of January in Napier, followed up by sales in both islands on the 16th. Cochrane notes that there is still a lot of wool coming through at this time.

Cochrane raises the concern that the weather in the South Island has put a halt on shearing.

Mackay finishes on the contamination of the wool via the stock raddle and the importance of removing it.

Cochrane confirms at the South Island sales yesterday four lines of wool worth zero dollars as they contained bright blue and orange raddles.
Wool News December 2019 Lammermore
12 December 2019

Wool News: Lammermoor Organic – a great yarn

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

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.

4 December 2019

PGG Wrightson Wool November Update

This week The Country's Jamie Mackay catches up with PGG Wrightson's GM for wool Grant Edwards to talk about the wool industry.

Since their last chat, Edwards says that the market has been steady across the board for all wool types.

Wool auctions have been at the A and P shows in Hawkes Bay and Christchurch. These have resulted in strong volumes of wool and great to see support for the market.

The Christchurch auctions turned around about 7.2 million dollars of wool within 4.5 hours of selling. Edwards mentions that this is a great show piece for farmers to see their product selling

Traditionally at this time of year the bulk of fleece wool comes off as lambs are weaned off and shearing begins.

Mackay mentions that the harvest of the wool clip is spread out over 12 months, compared to the traditional mad rush September – January shearing season. Edwards agrees as there is a lot more second shearing now.

Wool preparation and contamination continues to be an issue as Mackay brings up the discounting of wool due to staining by permanent markers at scanning time.

Edwards adds that preparation is always key and that it comes down to the farmers paying attention to this at the time of shearing.

Mackay notes that it has been very wet in some parts of the country and this might result in yellowing and discolouration. Edwards adds that this could be the case, particularly with Southland and humidity in the North Island, but it will just be something that farmers will need to keep an eye on.

Mackay wraps up by mentioning that the IWTO (International Wool Textile Organization) conference is in Queenstown next week, and that it is great to have international wool partners come to New Zealand to discuss the future of wool.
29 October 2019

October Wool Report

This month Andy Thompson is joined by PGG Wrightson South Island wool procurement manager Rob Cochrane to discuss the current issues facing farmers and the stability of the wool market.

Things are looking up for the New Zealand Agricultural Show (formally known as the Canterbury A and P show), especially in reference to wool sales and the recent success of the Agricultural Show in the Hawkes Bay.

Thompson queried the current issues around contaminated wool.

Cochrane explained the issue was unscourable products such as chalk that appears to stain the wool, which can result in concerns around wool treatment and exports.

Growers needed to understand that some products are unscourable although most products do carry warnings.

Cochrane noted that added colour on the fleece must be removed at the point of shearing and disposed of.

Farmers and growers need to be aware of this to help keep the New Zealand standard of wool high.

If there are contaminants, this can cause major issues further down the track and in the market place.

Cochrane described the wool market as being stagnant over the last three years, however there is still plenty of demand for New Zealand crossbred wool, and currently the market seems stable in both the North and South Island.

Read more Wool News articles here.

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