With good producer returns and a new demographic of younger consumers enjoying the characteristic of the natural fibre, Quality Wool’s Toowoomba representative, David Henderson, is upbeat about the state of Queensland’s wool industry.
“There has never been a better time to be in the wool game in Queensland,” Mr Henderson said.
Drought has had the biggest impact on sheep numbers in the State, but according to Mr Henderson the numbers are starting to come back.
He said people who had gone out of wool were now giving sheep a crack again post-drought.
“This year’s price gains have been on the back of increased national wool production which is more than five per cent higher.
Drought has had the biggest impact on sheep numbers in the State, but they are starting to come back.
“Those who did restock have been justly rewarded by higher wool and sheep prices.
“As people start restocking in those western areas, they aren’t necessarily buying cattle, they are looking at sheep, because during the drought even though their numbers were down, sheep were a better bet.
“In dry conditions sheep can graze longer and they can still produce wool.
“Now when they are moving back and making those decisions they see they can buy and run 10 ewes for every one beast.”
Mr Henderson said wool will continue its resurgence in Queensland as sheep numbers grow behind dog fences, with many applications for cluster fencing awaiting approval.
Originating from Goondiwindi, Mr Henderson has had a long history in agriculture and in particular the local wool industry.
He joined Quality Wool in January 2015, when the Adelaide-based private company bought Queensland Cotton’s arm of the wool business.
“In our business model is we have two clears goals – to make it easier for growers and make wool more accessible to exporters,” he said.
“So we opt to send all our Queensland wool to our stores in Parkes.
“The direct access to our southern stores enables us to quickly process the wool for the overseas buyers, with savings of between $9 to $10 per bale.
“From Parkes, the wool is sent to the Victorian wool store where it is auctioned.”
Quality Wool was established in 1991 in South Australia by managing director Mark Dyson, who hails from a wool growing background in West Australia. It is the only independent, locally owned and operated firm in the Australian wool industry.