Rural Notebook | Money talks in the Wool Poll levy vote

TAKE IT EASY: Livestock love deep shade as some hot days arrive.
TAKE IT EASY: Livestock love deep shade as some hot days arrive.

RESULTS of the Wool Poll voting have confirmed that 53 per cent of votes allocated supported a levy on gross wool receipts of 1.5 per cent.

This percentage had not been supported by the Australian Wool Innovation board of directors that had recommended a two per cent levy.

From my corner this appears to be a reminder from a majority of levy payers that they like to make their own decisions when their hard-earned cash is involved.

This decision probably denotes a changing of the guard at AWI and a new chair may introduce a different strategic path for the industry.

Niche market

AMIDST the current wool industry happenings it’s an opportune time to consider that wool accounts for just 1.3 per cent of the world textile market.

This is a huge overall market when we consider that this 1.3 per cent is worth around $5 billion (Australian).

Our share of this tiny percentage is really finding its own niche market.

Wool musings

THE correction in wool auction prices may have bottomed with a fall of around 10 per cent recent weeks.

Values seem to be settling at a level about five per cent higher than for the same sales in 2017.

A swing to prem shearing of six to nine months has steadied and producers who have made the change are pleased with tensile strength, sheep that seem to do much better and regular cash flow.

Financial returns are also quite viable.

The obvious downsides to prem shearing are seriously increased shearing costs, lambs making a nuisance around woolsheds and a possible problem sourcing shearers and wool handlers twice in a calendar year.

We have to wonder if modern, professional shearers could be convinced to stay on in a mob of, say, 5000 unmulesed, heavy-skinned merino wethers. Just sayin’.

Rural stalwart

THE recent passing of respected farmer and grazier Garnet Bennett revived memories of a stalwart of our district’s rural community.

Garnet and his wife Emily settled at Bimbil, Rock Forest in the early 1960s and their children Karen and Steve grew up there.

The family produced sheep and cattle on Bimbil through the good years and the tough years, and Garnet’s ongoing commitment to his local Rural Fire Service is recognised.

Sincere sympathy is offered to the family.

Punt pays off

PRODUCERS who took a real punt on sowing “catch crops” of dual purpose cereal crops at a late stage have come up with profitable hay or silage as a couple of 20mm falls at the right time are showing what can be done.

Even the unusual rye corn fodder crop has produced a lot of stock feed and all of these crops were sown at the exact time of “the dreaded El Nino is here” forecasts from those who may have known something.

Of course, we all know that horrible conditions are never far away but fortune has favoured the brave who were game enough to gamble.

Looking ahead

IF we accept that livestock numbers across our Central Tablelands are down to almost half of expected carrying capacity, we must realise that recovery to viability is going to require several years of solid prices and reasonable seasons.

Town businesses will also need a genuine recovery in their sales and service receipts as part of their drought recovery.

Landholders, agents and suppliers are all appreciating acceptable sale prices for almost all rural produce at present and, hopefully, solid prices will compensate for lower volume as we slowly return to more normal conditions.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: On many properties the drought is still breaking hearts.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: On many properties the drought is still breaking hearts.

Poll positions

ELECTIONS campaigns for the state seat of Bathurst and federal seat of Calare will warm up as the Christmas holiday break winds down in late January.

For the first time in years, Labor is fielding a really strong candidate in Bathurst while the Nationals have had several hiccups as they look for a genuine threat to Phil Donato in Orange.

Federal Calare has been a Nationals stronghold for a long time and Andrew Gee should still be quite confident of retaining the seat.

Nationally, though, it’s hard to see PM Morrison turning the tide before a federal election in early Winter 2019.

Diary dates

  • Saturday, November 24: Maroomba merino ram sale. Hargraves Recreation Ground, noon, 20 top quality rams. Phone Peter Colley on 6373 8441 or Greg Hundy on 0409 986 335.
  • Sunday, December 2: BMA Christmas party at Newhaven Park, Georges Plains.

Wool report

THE wool market had an indifferent week.

All fine merino fleece types still losing ground, the medium to broad merino wools were firm to a little dearer and the crossbreds gained up to 15c/kg.

The cardings were the shining light for the week, rising 80c/kg as the northern market indicator gained 10c/kg to finish the week on 1819c/kg.

Buyers are now saying a turnaround in the market is near as they are finally starting to sell some new business into China.

Fingers crossed, we could see a firmer market next week with 35,334 bales on offer nationwide.

Mark Horsburgh, TWG Landmark

Laugh lines

GEORGE was slipping quietly past the church when the padre stopped him, saying: “Come on in and join the army of the Lord.”

George delayed by saying he was already involved.

“Why don’t I see you here more often then, my son?” queried the padre.

George whispered: “Sssh, I’m in the secret service, father.”

***

THE young man with the science degree asks, “why does it work?”

The young man with the engineering degree asks, “how does it work?”

The young man with the accounting degree asks, “how much does it cost?”

The young man with the law degree asks, “who gave it permission to work?”

The young man with the arts degree asks, “would you like fries with that?”