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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Wool News_September 2019_PFASs In Synthetic Carpet
2 October 2019

Wool News: PFASs in synthetic carpets further boosts sustainability of wool

Awareness of the potential health and environmental hazards associated with some chemicals used in commercial interiors is growing, further reinforcing the arguments for designers, manufacturers, and consumers to shift towards natural raw materials, such as wool.

Synthetic carpets may typically include a group of chemicals called perfluorinated or polyfluorinated alkyl substances, more commonly known as PFASs. While these are valued for their stain-repellent qualities, they are also known as ‘forever chemicals’ because they may never fully degrade in the environment. In some literature PFASs have been negatively associated with potential health problems in people.

Since the 1940s these ‘forever chemicals’ have been used in a wide range of products including carpets and furniture, as well as camping gear and non-stick cookware. They are now found in the air and water around the globe, as well as in the bodies of nearly everyone on earth.

As consumers and manufacturers become better educated regarding the possible negative characteristics of PFASs, we are likely to see a move away from synthetic carpets, and back towards wool.

Linking Both Ends of the Chain
2 October 2019

Wool News: New Wool Integrity declaration coming soon

PGG Wrightson’s Wool Integrity programme, established in 2015, currently has some 1200 grower members and approximately 30 international brand partners. It provides assurances to the international market place by addressing concerns around global issues such as animal welfare and environmental sustainability. Wool quality, traceability, health, safety and wellbeing, and social compliance are also encompassed within the Wool Integrity programme.

For participating growers, PGG Wrightson through our-in house wool export company Bloch & Behrens, uses this differentiated marketing to add value to your wool clip without adding cost.

To ensure we can more effectively meet the ever-growing demands of the international marketplace, we will shortly contact all existing and new Wool Integrity growers to complete an updated Wool Integrity declaration.

Wool News_September 2019_Maintaining Min VM Levels
2 October 2019

Wool News: Maintaining minimum Vegetable Matter levels

This pre-lamb shearing season, in both North and South Islands, vegetable matter (VM) contamination has noticeably increased. 

Several tests are performed on wool prior to sale. These use the core sample taken from each bale within a specific line or lot. They include measuring micron, yield, colour (except for merino), and VM, which is reported as a percentage of the weight of a greasy wool sample and is measured after the wool fibre has been dissolved, leaving any plant material. 

While a VM test between zero and 0.1 per cent is unlikely to attract any discount, as the percentage increases so do the discounts. This season many crossbred fleece lines, both full wool and second shear, have returned VM tests between 0.5 and 1.0 per cent, which negatively impacts pricing in an already difficult market. Fine wool clips, particularly from high country areas, traditionally carry higher VM readings due to the nature of the country grazed. However, because fine wool is generally processed via a worsted system, compared to the majority of crossbred types going through a woollen system, VM in fine wool can largely be removed during the carding, combing and gilling processes prior to spinning. 

However, removing as much VM as practically possible, in the wool shed, remains crucial. Good shed preparation ensures maximum market exposure.

Wool News_September 2019_Crossbred Markets Steady
2 October 2019

Wool News: Crossbred markets steady, fine wool settles, as trade dispute influences all markets

For growers of all wool types, there are forces at play outside their control with factors that influence global trade offering little encouragement. Global financial uncertainty, and in particular the trade dispute between the United States and China, is having a negative effect on the market. These forces have a direct bearing on wool price, with immediate impact. We continue to monitor them closely to understand future pricing trends.

Demand for crossbred fibre was steady through the winter and into the early spring. However, although wool is moving through the auction pipeline and beyond, prices remain historically low.

Good to best quality styles for all wool types, with high preparation standards, have been well rewarded.

Growers presenting well-prepared pre-lamb full fleece wool are receiving significant premiums, benefiting in the vicinity of 50 to 60 cents per kilogram clean. Slightly lower premiums, of 20 cents clean,are there for quality offerings in the second shear market.

Some hogget wool is starting to come to the market, with the finer edge offerings met by steady demand. Adult crossbred wool is undergoing a supply lull. This supply will increase throughout November with shearing lambs at foot and post weaning shearing taking place especially in the North Island at this time.

New Zealand fine wool is rarely offered for sale during the winter, when we instead rely on the Australian market for pricing signals. After values remained steady through June and July, following three weeks with no auctions, prices for Australian fine wool fell substantially in August. Fortunately for our growers, just prior to the first significant offering of New Zealand fine wool in early September, the Australian market saw a major bounce back, which was reflected in our sale, resulting in fine wool prices well up on expectations on the day. Values whilst strong compared to historical levels are however back $5-$7 / Kg on the peak of last season.

A number of growers, especially for fine wools, have elected to take forward contracts, giving them ‘locked in prices’ which are therefore not subject to current market fluctuations due to world financial uncertainty.

Regardless of how grower wool is marketed, high preparation standards is key to maximising returns. Higher levels of vegetable matter content are noticeable this season compared to last, and extra vigilance is therefore necessary in the woolshed.

Grant Edwards, 
PGG Wrightson Wool, General Manager

Wool News_September 2019_Contamination
2 October 2019

Wool News: Keeping your wool clip clean

All manner of different objects slip into wool bales. When they go undetected as the greasy wool feeds into the scour train, these contaminants can cause expensive problems. Metal press bars, items of clothing and towels are the items most commonly found. 

One extreme find was a complete grinder.

Even a small piece of metal can seriously damage machinery designed to open and tease the greasy wool as it feeds into the scour. Repairs can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars, as well as bringing the entire scour to a halt.

Similarly, a stray towel or tee shirt will be torn apart by the aggressive machinery, spreading thousands of pieces of thread and fabric through the pure wool, triggering financial claims from justifiably annoyed spinners or manufacturers. Although metal objects such as press bars will probably be located when the wool bale is handled, rogue fabric is more difficult to detect and can place extreme financial burden on growers, wool exporters and processors.

Wool News_September 2019_Lambswool Contracts
2 October 2019

Wool News: Lambswool contracts proving popular

In August we emailed growers to seek expressions of interest to supply through our lambswool contract. It was a successful campaign and we thank all growers who took the opportunity to take up the contract offer. 

Forward wool contracts are a good option to remove the guesswork and volatility associated with the spot market. They ensure risk management, similar to fixed versus floating mortgage rates.

For more information about forward wool contracts, talk to your local wool rep or email wooladmin@pggwrightson.co.nz

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