Over the last 12 months, the global wool market has proved challenging, with prices affected by reduced demand for crossbred wool in China and uncertainty following Brexit. Despite this, British Wool auction prices throughout 2017/2018 have been stable, averaging at £1.00 per kilo, with good clearance rates at auction throughout the season.

Trevor Richards, British Wool Chairman commented “There’s clear evidence the market sees the value of British wool, backed up by strong demand from buyers and good clearance rates at auction. If we look back 12 months ago, prices for British wool were 20% lower than New Zealand wool. Recent months have seen that gap close, with a premium being paid for some British types. It’s also worth remembering that British Wool always pays more than the competition buying wool direct from farmers – that’s because we are a producer organisation, standing up for producers best interests. The more producers who market their wool through British Wool, sees better returns for every producer, which is why we’ve recently launched initiatives like our new entrants scheme, which provides early years cash flow support to farmers who are new to wool production.”

Joe Farren, CEO, said “Joining British Wool means long term support for sheep farmers. It’s important we think about the future, and implement a strategy to secure long term success. This is where British Wool comes into its own – we have a strategic role to play in assessing and developing new market opportunities, and increasing consumer demand for British wool. Initiatives like this will deliver greater rewards across the long-term, securing the future of the wool industry.”

‘British Wool pays more’ says Hampshire sheep farmer

British Wool is a farmer owned co-operative set up to give sheep farmers collective selling power and an efficient and cost effective collection and processing infrastructure. Gordon Wyeth, who farms a lowland flock of 9,500 Romney ewes in Hampshire and the surrounding areas, explains the value he gets from working with British Wool.

“British Wool pays more than the competition and is committed to adding value, which is important to all farmers. Strength in numbers is an old adage, but absolutely true in this case – the more farmers who sign up to British Wool, the better returns we’ll all see.”

“As a farmer owned organisation, British Wool exists to support us and represent our best interests, making sure that we get maximum value from our clip. We have the opportunity to shape the long term future of our industry, exploring new markets and opportunities for wool, and that’s exactly what British Wool will help us do.”

Gordon has farmed for over 35 years and kept Romney sheep for 15 years, averaging 1.5 lambs and selling female ewes for breeding. An active member of the NFU National Livestock Board and Farmers Weekly 2016 Sheep Farmer of the Year, he shears twice a year, averaging around 4 kilos of wool per sheep.

Joe Farren, British Wool CEO, said: “We’re delighted to work with farmers like Gordon who can help us explain the value of joining British Wool, and we’re always keen to encourage new members. The more wool we handle, the more efficient we can be, delivering optimum cost savings which ultimately result in better returns for our producers.”

Pictured: Trevor Richards, British Wool chairman