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Signs that wool will recover, says marketing board Optimism despite ‘global pressure’ on wool prices

Signs that wool will recover, says marketing board

British Wool says it remains optimistic for the future – despite global pressures limiting the price it pays farmers for wool.

Some £6.6m will be paid to British farmers this year with exact prices depending on grade and type of wool. Members were sent a personalised letter in mid-May confirming the total value of their 2022 wool.

Core grades achieved 30p/kg, with Blackface wool worth 20p/kg, Welsh Mountain wool 10p/kg and Swaledale 8p/kg. Fleeces from organic flocks attract a premium of 70p/kg for core types and 20p/kg for the Welsh Mountain type.

British Wool chief executive Andrew Hogley said: “We understand that prices will be disappointing to our members, particularly on the back of falling lamb prices and other difficulties in the wider industry. We are frustrated too.”

Global prices have been under pressure in recent months, said Mr Hogley. This, alongside the cost inflation experienced by the wider industry, had created significant difficulties in the marketplace, he added.

“As a farmers’ cooperative, the returns we offer our members are determined by the value we can achieve for the wool we sell on their behalf and the costs of bringing that wool to market,” said Mr Hogley.

There had been positive signs of recovery in the wool market after the devastating impact of the Covid pandemic. But the war in Ukraine and subsequent spike in energy prices reversed much of those improvements.

High energy costs and consumer confidence had led to a very challenging environment for all raw material suppliers including wool,” said Mr Hogley.

“The impact of high energy prices on the cost of processing wool has been enormous. Commercial scouring tariffs have increased by 30% over the past 12 months. Increased haulage rates and diesel prices have also been a significant challenge.”

‘Positive future’

Despite these difficulties, British Wool had still been able to sell the wool achieving prices comparable to those in New Zealand. “We are optimistic about the future and believe there is much to be positive about.

“Our focus on the environmental and sustainability credentials of British wool is gaining traction. Over the past year the number of brands with verified British wool product ranges has increased to more than 100.

“Increasingly we are seeing manufacturers willing to pay a premium for traceable British wool and we have invested in our systems that give full traceability back to the farm. We are also exploring new uses and markets for wool was ongoing too he said.

“We encourage sheep farmers to continue supporting us as we continue to navigate these difficult times. We truly believe that with continued effort, determination, and innovation we can build a positive future for wool, but we all need to work together.”