NSW northern tablelands woolgrower, Paul Mabbott, has won the Reda Future Project Award, an inaugural prize aimed at reinvigorating traditional superfine wool production in Australia.
The Mabbott family own “Rockvale”, near Uralla, NSW, which run 8000 traditional fine crimping superfine Merino bloodlines, 180 cattle and 1700 crossbred lambs across the 2025 hectare property.
Mr Mabbott was praised for producing a stylish, super white and super sound traditional superfine wool clip.
The Mabbotts produced 97 bales suitable for the contract, which included 66 bales of fleece wool that measured an impressive 48 newtons per kilotex (nkt) average.
The three-year contract provided an estimated $25,000 extra to Mr Mabbott’s bottom line in 2016-17 season, in comparison to auction prices.
Reda global procurement director Fabrizio Botto Poala said the winning clip was classed well with each line very even in style and length.
“The classing read like a book – you could clearly see what the classer was trying to make with each line,” Mr Botto Paolo said.
“This gives the buyer confidence to place the best price possible. Paul is breeding a type of sheep that produces exactly what Reda is looking for.”
The prize is a return business class trip to tour the Reda facility, near Biella in Italy, which is home to renowned Italian suiting and active wear fabric production.
Second place was awarded to Chris Dunne and Linda Waters, Uralla, NSW, with their 35 bales praised for the beautifully prepared “super white and stylish” clip, which included 33 bales of Merino fleece that averaged 47nkt.
Third place was crowned to Paul and Sally Pittman, Walcha, NSW, who delivered 25 bales which averaged 48nkt, commended for their meticulous breeding, careful clip preparation and classing.
The Reda Future Project was established last year and has signed-up 20 woolgrowers from NSW, Victoria and Tasmania with a ground-breaking new long-term contract aimed at promoting Australia’s best superfine woolgrowers.
The three to five-year contracts offered premiums from 15-35 per cent above auction prices in the first year for wool types from 15.8 – 19.2 micron. The contract also moves with the market via an index comparing prices from the previous season.
To be a member of the Reda Future Project and secure the premium price, growers need to be accredited to audited sustainability scheme, SustainaWOOLTM, which requires ethical and environmentally sound and wool production with a focus on quality.
Demand for fine Merino wool
Located near Biella in Northern Italy, the Reda mill employs 400 workers, uses approximately 22,000 bales of greasy wool and produces over seven million metres of fabric.
In addition to incentivizing superfine wool producers, the Reda Future Project has been designed to grow the supply of high quality traditional wool.
“This initiative addresses significant supply issues for Reda,” Mr Botto Poala said.
“If there are no incentives in the market, we are concerned that growers will stop focusing on quality.
“Without quality, we cannot hope to innovate and grow as a company”.
“It is not just talk - we are endeavouring to make a positive difference to their bottom line and at the same time, grow the supply of high quality wool for our own future. We have to work together on this.”
Mr Botto Poala said the scheme promotes each farm’s high-level credentials in animal welfare, animal health, traceability, environmental care, social responsibility and wool quality.
SustainaWOOL was released in March 2015 and now boasts over 700 accredited farms throughout Australia.