THE ongoing drought is having an impact on wool quality and quantity for graziers across the region.
Despite recent rainfall in the Central West and Orana, the entire region is still declared in drought and with shearing season underway graziers say wool quantity is lower than normal and some fleece is filled with dust.
Wellington grazier Brian Giddings said the Bureau of Meteorology might have recorded 94.2 millimetres of rain for the town so far this month, but his property has received less and the dry weather was having a significant impact.
“We’re cutting half as much and it’s full of dust,” he said.
“The dust impacts the quality and the yield, it’s $1.50 less a kilo.
“We’d usually get four kilos [of wool] a sheep, but now it’s only 2.5 kilos.”
We’re cutting half as much and it’s full of dust.Grazier Brian Giddings
Mr Giddings said thanks to the dry weather, the yield from each sheep was around $13 less than in a non-drought year.
“With around 1000 sheep that’s $13,000 down,” he said.
“We normally run 2000 [sheep], but we had to de-stock so we’re down to 1000.”
Dubbo based contract shearer Steven Mudford said his workload had dropped significantly due to a decline in sheep this year.
“The numbers of sheep have dropped because the farmers couldn’t afford to feed them,” he said.
“They’ve offloaded around 50 per cent of their sheep.
- Story continues under video
“The further you go south it’s OK, but north and west of Dubbo there’s a lot less sheep around.”
And, while Mr Mudford said the quality of the wool had not been impacted by the drought, there was less of it.
“There’s a lot less weight on them because of the drought, it might be 40 per cent less than a normal year so that’s 40 per cent less money,” he said.
Mr Mudford said it was not just farmers who had been impacted by the drought, it was also people like himself as well as businesses across the region.
READ MORE: Shearer Steven Mudford sets a world record
At the Pomanara Merino Stud north of Bathurst, owner Geoff Rayner said he had kept destocking to a minimum, however, the quality and quantity of fleece on his sheep had dropped.
“Quality wise it’s had an impact because of the drought, it’s a little bit more fuzzy and not as crimped,” he said.
“The fibres are breaking a little easier and both of these impact the price.”
The quantity of the fleece on sheep at Pomanara has dropped by 10-15 per cent.
“Less fleece is produced, they don’t grow the quantity because they’re trying to maintain their body weight,” he said.