Depressed wool prices have seen farmers get from as little as 5c/kg to 20c/kg for their wool clip over the last two years, and this year looks like it will be no different.
Covid-19 has been a large reason for the depressed wool market so, with the easing of restrictions, Agriland spoke to a wool merchant in the south of the country to see if there is light at the end of the tunnel.
He said: “There was a bit of life in the wool trade before Christmas, but that was short lived. There is still a lot wool around.
“The only real positive is that the sales in England have been positive and have witnessed high clearances.
“Athough it’s not having an affect on us here, it’s still some bit of positivity. China is gone off the radar, with nothing being sold there, and India is another disaster.
“With lamb prices being good, wool is a distraction now and in the way as such, who knows, shearing costs may rise with just the way the price of everything is going up as well,” the merchant continued.
“It’s hard to say anything other than that on a positive note. The one point that I would say to farmers is to try keep good care of the wool they have, such as shearing the sheep when it’s dry and storing it in a dry place.
“It makes the situation a lot worse when you have wet and/or dirty wool or contaminated wool with straw or hay in it.
“I know with the price of it, it might be hard to put as much time into keeping it well but if at all possible, try and do so.”
Old season quality lowland wool is currently, the merchant said, still trading at 20c/kg, with “no price set for new season wool just yet”.
He added that “20c/kg [is] looking like a possibility again for this year’s wool clip at the higher end of the scale”.
“There still a lot of wool around; like I said, it’s moving – but very slowly. I spoke to a farmer who has two years of wool stored in the shed,” he said.
“I have a lot of surplus wool, mainly poor quality stuff which there is no demand for, so unfortunately, I haven’t much on a positive note to say but that’s just the reality of it.”