Cheer as wool price enjoys fourth increase

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SHEEP farmers who sold through the British Wool Marketing Board are getting an average of £1.24 a kilo for last year’s clip, the board has announced, following the final sale of the 2011-2012 season on May 16.

The settlement represents a 22p/kg rise on the last pay-out.

The fourth rise in consecutive years comes on the back of strong worldwide demand, notably in the emerging economy of China, said BWMB chief executive Ian Hartley, addressing a meeting of regional committee representatives at the Farmers Club in London.

He said: “The increased payments have come as a result of the competitive auction system used by the BWMB to trade all the wool it sells.

“The average clip value this year will be £1.24/kg, representing a significantly increased return for producers. This will be a welcome boost to farm incomes, particularly as lamb values have been hit in recent weeks by the shift in the exchange rate.”

Actual payments will vary between 61p for Swaledale wool and £1.48 for Suffolk and Cheviot, with Mule wool valued at £1.41.

BWMB board member Trevor Richards said UK production had increased six per cent by volume in 2011.

He said: “This bodes well as demand is still strong from across the world and sheep populations have fallen in the major wool-producing nations in recent years.

“Although the overall economic outlook is not as positive, we hope to see prices maintained for the 2012 season.”

Mr Hartley said the BWMB was promoting British wool across the globe, in tandem with the Campaign for Wool (CfW), in which it was a founding partner. He said: “The CfW continues to go from strength to strength and in 2012 is entering new territory with major campaigns in China, France and the USA.”