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Marlborough shearer Angus Moore, winner of the PGG Wrightson Wool National Shearing Circuit final at the Golden Shears in March. Photo / Pete Nikolaison
26 June 2020

Shearing competition opener cancelled

Traditional shearing competitions season-opener, the New Zealand Merino Shears has been cancelled this year, as organisers work to mark its 60th anniversary post-Covid in style in 2021.

The championships in Alexandra were to have been held on October 2-3.

The NZ Merino Shears usually attracts over 100 shearers and woolhandlers and is the only fine wool competition on the Shearing Sports New Zealand calendar of almost 60 shows each summer.

The cancellation has also led to the axing of the 2020-2021 National Shearing Circuit, of which Alexandra has been the traditional compulsory opening round.

It also impacts on the annual home-and-away transtasman series, with the two competitions providing two of the three shearers in the New Zealand team each summer.

Incorporating a final for the McSkimming Memorial Triple Crown at the Golden Shears each March since 1973, the circuit had already been hit by the cancellation of this year's New Zealand Agricultural Show which would have staged third-round event the New Zealand Corriedale Championships.

The cancellation of the Alexandra event was confirmed by New Zealand Merino Shearing Society chairman Greg Stuart who said it was "due to the pandemic".

The Covid-19 crisis has had severe impacts, as it had across the country and the world, he said, and his committee "needed to make the call" about an event which runs on a budget of up to $50,000 – at a time when the lockdown made negotiations almost impossible.

The committee didn't want to "embarrass" or pressure anyone and decided it wanted to guarantee still being around for the 60th year, particularly for the sake of those who had supported the event over the years.

"Some of them have been with us from way back," Stuart said.

The National Shearing Circuit committee is also due to meet in the next fortnight to consider the possibilities as the event heads to the celebration of its first 50 years, including the last 18 known as the PGG Wrightson National.

PGG Wrightson Wool have been sponsors at all five shows in the circuit, along with providing the major prize of a year's use of a Hyundai Santa Fe for the winner, currently Marlborough shearer Angus Moore, who won this year's final less than three weeks before the Covid-19 lockdown.

Meanwhile, the Waimate Shears, which would have included the second round of the circuit, will is "definitely" on October 9-10, said chairman Warren White.

Canterbury show shearing organisers are considering still staging their championships, in a woolshed at the station which provides its sheep.

Later in the season, the Rangitikei Shearing Sports in Marton in February, which would have been the fourth round, will be held on a Sunday as shows avoid a clash caused by the timing of Waitangi Day.

It will provide three competitions within three days with Dannevirke A and P Show on a Friday (February 5), the Aria Waitangi Day Sports on the Saturday (February 6) and the Rangitikei event on February 7.

Photo credit

Marlborough shearer Angus Moore, winner of the PGG Wrightson Wool National Shearing Circuit final at the Golden Shears in March. Photo / Pete Nikolaison

 

Credit: Article by NZ Herald / The Country

Wool Update Jul18
9 June 2020

Hard Work Pays Off

PGG Wrightson Wool general manager Grant Edwards said it was thanks to the hard work between the industry and MPI that the wool supply chain has been able to work through the different status levels caused by Covid-19.

Under alert level four they were able to shear sheep where required and mobilise the delivery of high density scoured bales for wool shipments to meet contractual export agreements.

Under alert level three wool stores were able to operate. Wool scouring and wool dumping also recommenced.

He said MPI provided direct guidance on what could and could not operate under the different status levels and further outlined the strict protocols that the industry has operated under.

“Largely, overseas wool markets have been closed although some future business is now being written with China.”

Many overseas clients are also requesting delayed shipments for contracts.

No auction sales were held throughout April, but they resumed late May with one North Island sale and one in the South Island.

Edwards said working and interacting with each other was important in the timing and volumes offered at these auction sales, as was the need to take into account farmer cashflows.

“It is a matter of balancing the unknown nature of future market levels with a responsible auction sale programme.”

Rural Livestock’s Simon Cox said the timing of lockdown did take some pressure off the meatworks because they were limited for space.

“Combine that with lack of feed from droughts, and then add in lockdown, and it was the perfect storm.”

Despite this, he said it was a tough few weeks, and everyone worked hard to ensure they got through it.

He said 70% of their business is usually done outside of the yards, and during lockdown there were lots of calves to shift which would have gone to the sales.

“It was hard work, but my guys were able to get on with it and move pretty much everything privately.

There was a lot of phone work, but we got there.”

As an essential service, there was extensive logging of his staff’s movements.

“We were planning 10 days prior to lockdown, saying ‘what if what if.’”

Cox said during the first week, Steve Morrison of NZ Stock and Station Association did a fantastic job keeping in touch with the Ministry of Health, MPI and the Stock and Station firms concerned.

The meat companies operated at 50% then 75%, so there was a shortage of space to process prime stock.

He expects June bull sales to operate at some sort of normality and will be dependent on New Zealand operating at alert level 2 or less. Online sales have been a successful option too.

Veterinarians are used to working at a fast pace, but during lockdown this was not possible.

A spokesperson for the New Zealand Veterinary Association said most consults were conducted over the phone or video call, and individual clients were only allowed to enter the building when absolutely necessary.

For many owners this meant dropping their pet at the door and sitting in the car for a phone interview with the vet seeing their pet inside.

Delaying non-urgent appointments and procedures and avoiding interaction with people wherever possible meant clinic doors stayed closed.

An unavoidable home visit meant pet owners often putting their animal outside while speaking to the veterinarian over the phone or through a window. A house or ‘bubble’ entry required full PPE.

It was easier for the large animal veterinarians, as physical distances were much easier to maintain outdoors.

Revenue is down at Farmlands due to the lockdown. Droughts hit revenue pre Covid-19.

Chief executive Peter Riedie said less foot traffic for retail and a hit to their card and fuel businesses also made a significant impact.

A click and collect service at Farmlands meant they could operate as an essential service under lockdown and into alert level four, and into level three where stores were still closed.

Staff movements were restricted, some shareholders still required on-site access for decision making, and field staff visited sites under stringent conditions which included no physical interaction. 

The temporary webstore did four times the volume of sales in one week than it did in an entire year.

“That is a huge change in buyer behaviour and it remains to be seen if this will be a long-term change.”

The first day of trading under alert Level 2 was encouraging but not their busiest day by any stretch.

“We do not expect to see a significant uplift on the back of the move to Level 2.”

Farmlands applied for and was granted a wage subsidy by the Government.

Riedie said the co-operative will need to adapt to the changing behaviours and requirements of shareholders as they deal with uncertainty surrounding exports and global factors.

“We have to look at our ways of operating and cost base to ensure we get through this.”

Assessing the future of Saturday trade at some of their stores will be part of this. 

 

Written by Annabelle Latz
Supplied by Country Wide

29 May 2020

Wool market slow to bounce back

PGG Wrightson GM for wool, Grant Edwards joins The Country's Jamie Mackay to look at how the wool market is faring this month, post New Zealand's Covid-19 lockdown.

Mackay said the wool market was in real trouble as it was down 25 per cent from where it was in late February and early March. Two recent auctions saw full length crossbred fleece least affected and strong lamb's wool suffering the most, taking a 35-40 per cent hit.

New Zealand was not alone, as Australian wool prices had also taken a hit and fine wool prices had halved since September 2019, said Mackay.

For some historic perspective Mackay spoke of 1968 where he would get NZD $5 at auction for strong wool, and that same wool today was estimated to get NZD $1.70 a kilo.

Edwards talked about how Covid-19 had impacted the supply chain as New Zealand wool ends up in end-garments, carpets and upholstery throughout Europe and USA and key end-user markets, which had been shut down and were only now starting to open again.

Edwards believed there would be a bounce-back after Covid-19 and when trade started to resume. It was going to come down to timing of when and where.

Edwards was convinced that the long term outcome for wool was very positive because of wool's sustainability and environmentally friendly properties, especially with the younger generation being more conscious of their product consumption and usage.

For more Information on New Zealand's Covid19 response and Alert Levels please visit covid19.govt.nz/

Wool News Angus Moore
29 May 2020

Shear it all

Put any type of sheep in front of shearer Angus Moore and he won’t be fazed.

The 35-year-old Marlborough shearer and shearing contractor talks more like a sheep breeder, with an appreciation of wool genetics and sheep structure, that shows his farming genealogy.

His technique of elegantly removing a fleece; fine wool, second shear or strong wool, up against the clock, was shown to be the best in New Zealand. Moore won the prestigious Multi Breeds Shearing section of the PGG Wrightson Wool National Shearing Circuit, held at the 2020 Golden Shears event.

Moore has won the right to represent NZ at the Trans-Tasman Shearing Competition. He also has the use of a Hyundai Santa Fe for a year. One of the first jobs for the seven-seater after the Covid Pandemic lockdown will be delivering two of Angus and Ratapu’s six children to Seddon School. The couple welcomed another baby in May.
Angus Moore PGG Wrightson Wool News

Despite a busy family life and a shearing run from the Clarence River to the Marlborough Sounds, and St Arnaud, Angus accumulated enough points through the Summer Show circuit to qualify for the final at Golden Shears.

“I couldn’t make all five qualifiers so aimed to qualify by shearing Merino wethers at Alexandra, Corriedales at the Christchurch Show, and second-shear Romneys at Paihatua.”

Moore made it through to the semi-final as number ten of twelve shearers. Here they shore three sheep of each type, in a very technical competition.

“It was a really great event, shearing in front of four thousand people plus thousands watching online.”

“I tried to shear the three Merinos and three Corriedales well, using my experience there, as we are used to shearing more fine and mid-micron sheep in Marlborough, compared to crossbreds, especially second-shear in other parts of the country.”

“Other boys were probably faster than me.”

Moore also won the competition in 2012. From Marlborough farming stock, Angus built up shearing skills at home then around NZ on the job. Hugely humble, he credits his success to support from his wife and particular help from competition shearers Sam and Emily Welch, Dion Morrell, Chris Jones and Paul Paikea, his wife’s uncle.

“There are so many people whom I have learnt from.”

The Moore’s shearing gang is a family affair and very supportive.

“My brother in law is one of our main shearers in our gang and is awesome, and two of Ratapu’s sisters continue to help when they can.”

“The whole gang gets along very well, and is always keen to do a good job for us and our farmers.”

“Competitions give me something more to aim at in terms of professional development, to be better than I was yesterday.”

“It puts you among people who are really passionate about wool and the industry.”

Angus and Ratapu purchased their first run from Joe Douglas in 2016, then added another a year later. About 15% of the run are Merinos, 60% Corriedales or halfbreds and 25% stronger wool sheep.

He said he is very blessed with the farmers he shears for.

“They are keen to work together and take pride in what they do with their wool.”

He closely follows the changes in the genetics of flocks and will be interested to see how the trend to reduce micron plays out. He rates the Saxon-based Isolation merino flock of Rob and Sally Peter, Marlborough, as something really special, with their clip weights and style. Their composites produce a fat lamb, so they have both ends of the spectrum covered.

“The Glen Orkney flock of the Harvey family is a dream to shear with good body frames and super wool weights of six to seven kilograms, with length.”

He has noticed some mid-micron flocks moving about two microns finer and is interested to see how the breeders of mid-micron will improve their genetics.

“A challenge is getting the trend of the Romney/Merino cross right, as there is a high potential of colour in the fleece.”

“If they can crack the wool bit, the structure, carcass and feet will be improved.”

He also noted the work Corriedale breeders are doing in this area.

Dave Carr, Chairman of the PGG Wrightson Wool National Shearing Circuit, rates the Multi Breeds Competition as the pinnacle of NZ shearing.

“For a shearer to get up on the board faced with five different types of wool, under the pressure of judges, time and the other competitors, makes for a truly unique event.”

Carr praised Moore’s dedication to his whanau and industry.

“Angus and Ratapu have built up a shearing run in Marlborough, based on the professional attitudes they have both learned along the way.”

The competition has run for 48 years, with PGG Wrightson Wool sponsoring the National Shearing Circuit for 18 years.
Angus Moore PGG Wrightson Wool News

 

Written by Joanna Grigg
Supplied by Country Wide
Photo by Pete Nikolaison

Wool Pipeline Slows
29 May 2020

Wool pipe-line slows significantly

Rob Cochrane PGG Wrightson WoolWorking from home for a period of approximately eight weeks, allows awareness of how life can be changed by something completely beyond our control. A lot of New Zealanders can reflect on how their lives change in an instant, through earthquakes, extreme weather events, global financial crisis and shootings. Whilst all of us who have been impacted by any of these events, could relate somewhat to a sudden upheaval turning our world upside down, none of us in “god zone” could imagine how COVID-19, a disease festering in a faraway place, would create extreme havoc across the entire planet resulting in, not only significant loss of human life, but also the crippling of businesses due to immediate cash-flow withdrawal.

From a global wool perspective, the spread of disease quickly impacted Asia and Europe forcing partial closure of mills due to illness, but also to protect the healthy. As global demand ceased for unessential goods, such as many apparel items, carpets and furnishing textiles, more complete closure followed. Obviously, a lack of demand for finished woollen goods forced the wool pipeline to slow significantly and export shipping preference was for food stuffs and perishables. With hotels and shipping cruise liners accounting for major consumption growth of woollen carpets and interior textiles in the past, and New Zealand a huge contributor to those manufacturing industries, it should come as no surprise that the entire wool pipeline from farm to export would find itself between a rock and a hard place.

Wool auction sales ceased in New Zealand after 19th March and an agreement between wool brokers and exporters that a limited and orderly flow of wool to market should recommence as we re-enter wool auctions. The original wool auction sales roster drawn up for the 2020/21 season had allowed for more than 80,000 bales to be offered after 19th March and before 28th May, with a further 45,000 bales offered by 30th June, therefore a resumption of auctions was going to be a challenge with agreed maximum offerings of 7,000 bales for each of the first two auctions, Napier and Christchurch.

North Island wool brokers resumed auctions on 21st May in Napier where around 60% of the 7,000 bales catalogued were cleared to the export trade from the auctioneer’s rostrum. Prices for good to average crossbred types, including full length fleece and variable length second-shear, were quoted between approximately 15% and 25% cheaper compared to 19th March. Lamb’s wool and all oddment prices were very subdued, with poor colour and vegetable matter contaminated types suffering from extremely limited buyer interest. Exporters representing Chinese processors were the major buyers of most types sold on the day.

The wool industry generally has suffered a long period of weak pricing and, apart from some finer wool types which had experienced a few years of improvement until recently, did not need a pandemic to create further distress! However, if the years of hard work by Kiwi exporters and marketers around the world, expelling the virtues and benefits of New Zealand wool, are eventually realized. Along with various individuals and wool groups continuing to lobby government and local councils within New Zealand to specify wool products are used in educational institutions, government buildings and housing, we might begin to see some light at the end of, what is currently, a rather dark, gloomy tunnel. I hear that home knitting is making a come-back around the globe, however I’m not convinced that could be our savior!

That’s my view.

Rob Cochrane
Wool Procurement Manager
PGG Wrightson Wool

Wool News Ina
29 May 2020

Ina brings a practical approach to running the company’s wool stores

When Ina Nukutai first came to New Zealand in 1980 he was a schoolboy aiming to finish his education at Napier Boys High.

Born and raised in Rarotonga, Ina soon found that his ability on the rugby field, where he played at number eight, was a good way to make friends and fit in.

“I was selected for the First XV and we toured Wales in 1981/82, winning all five of our games. I found respect as a player, which helped me to establish myself in New Zealand, and motivated me to take rugby more seriously,” he says.

After finishing school he moved to Wellington, sticking with rugby at the same time as taking up a building apprenticeship. Following a return to Hawke’s Bay, while waiting for the right construction job to come up in 1987, he decided to fill in time by working as a casual in the wool store at what was then Wrightsons. Fast forward 33 years and Ina is still there, now as PGG Wrightson Wool National Logistics Manager, a job he has held since 2011.

“I found that I really enjoyed Wrightsons’ history, culture, and the people. That spirit has endured through several mergers down the years, and I’ve stayed ever since,” he says.

With responsibility for the company’s wool stores in Invercargill, Mosgiel and Christchurch, as well as home base in Napier, Ina oversees approximately 40 staff, and at any one time will have upwards of 200,000 bales of wool in his charge, co-ordinating its movement into, out of and between the stores.

“Over the last few weeks, with Covid going on, storage has been a big challenge. If the wool isn’t sold out of our stores while more wool is still coming in from shearing, we can quickly run into problems and need to find new options and extra storage space. We need overseas markets to re-open,” he says.

Ina has a hands-on style with work and prefers to actively make the most of his experience of the operation, rather than spending his days in front of a screen.

“I make sure I help the rest of the team whenever necessary, especially when numbers are short, whether that is doing data entry, covering for people on holiday, or loading out incoming wool,” he says.

His rugby career on the paddock, which included representing Wellington at colts and Hawke’s Bay at colts and senior levels, was cut short by injury. However, Ina has continued his involvement in the game, and is a stalwart of Taradale RFC, where he has played and coached the Maroons, winning three premierships, one as a player and two as coach. In addition, he has coached colts sides, served as club captain and president and is now a life member of the club.

Family also plays a big part in his life. Ina’s daughter Amy recently started working for PGG Wrightson in the Porirua retail store. Ina and wife Fiona spend time regularly back in Rarotonga, where they have built a holiday home, while his two nephews Karika and Roimata both live with Ina, having followed the same path as their uncle from Rarotonga to Napier to finish their education.

Although crossbred wool is going through tough times, Ina reckons it will come through.

“When you look at how Merino is going, we can take a lesson out of that. People need to understand that our wool is the best in the world. If we can access the end users, making sure they realise the quality of wool, and its natural characteristics, the future of our fibre is good,” he says.

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