British Wool will be make payments worth a total of £8.4 million to its 40,000 farmer members, as trade in fleeces continues to recover from a torrid time during Covid-19.
An overall average price of 36.4p/kg for last year’s clip will represent a 135% year-on-year increase, after prices dropped to as low as 15p/kg when factories around the world closed due to the pandemic. Prices for the pre-Covid 2018 clip, paid in 2019, had averaged 60p/kg.
Trade and operational costs
The co-operative said the rise was down to improving trade and reduced operational costs.
It said speciality fleeces such as Herdwick and Bluefaced Leicester will receive significantly higher returns.
“Producers will be pleased to see prices for an iconic product begin to return to more sustainable levels.”
John Royle, NFU chief livestock adviser
A huge recovery
British Wool CEO Andrew Hogley said: “With the challenges the industry is facing we are really pleased that this year’s payments are an improvement.
“Although the price is not yet where we would like it to be, it represents a huge recovery since the difficulties of 2020.”
Free haulage to continue
Mr Hogley confirmed that the free haulage offer introduced last year will continue and said he was “optimistic” for longer-term prospects.
While farmers receive a price based on the overall season to June, the most recent sale in May saw an average greasy wool price of 82.6/kg, with only 11 of 248 lots failing to sell. Only 10% of the 2021 clip remained unsold ahead of the final sale.
Covering the cost of shearing
“Producers will be pleased to see prices for an iconic product begin to return to more sustainable levels,” said NFU chief livestock adviser John Royle.
“We urge British Wool to continue to innovate to establish new markets and to extract value, with supportive policies from government and regulators where needed.
“Farmers must to get to the point where the value of their wool more than covers the cost of shearing.”