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Impact of the recent bushfires on Australian wool production

The devastating effect of the recent fires in Australia on many people’s lives, homes, infrastructure, livelihoods and wildlife has been widely reported.

The Australian Wool Production Forecasting Committee (AWPFC) is aware of trade concerns regarding the impact of the Australian bushfires on shorn wool production.

Data provided to the AWPFC by state government authorities indicate that the current estimated number of sheep reported lost is approximately 70,000 out of a total Australian population of approximately 68 million. More than 80% of these losses are reported to have occurred on Kangaroo Island in South Australia.

Assuming 40% of these sheep would have been shorn between February and June 2020 at an average of 4 kg of greasy wool per head, the AWPFC expects the impact of the fires on shorn wool production to be approximately 112,000 greasy kg. This is around 0.04% of the current AWPFC forecast for the 2019/20 season of 272 Mkg greasy.

The expected impact on Australian shorn wool production is minor relative to the impact of the drought in key wool producing regions of the country. However, the AWPFC acknowledges the significant impact of these bushfires on individual sheep producers in affected areas, some of whom have lost a substantial proportion of their flock and infrastructure.

The carryover impact of the bushfires on shorn wool production next season will be considered when the AWPFC meets at the end of April and provides its first forecast for 2020/21.

Australian Wool Innovation Limited 4 March 2020