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Australian shorn wool production continues a steady increase

  • The latest Australian Wool Production Forecasting Committee’s forecast of shorn wool production for 2021/22 is 314 Mkg greasy, up 6.5% on 2020/21.
  • Most key wool producing regions continue to enjoy favourable seasonal conditions which has boosted per head production. • The Committee’s first forecast of shorn wool production for the 2022/23 season is 321 Mkg greasy, a 2.5% increase on the current season. The main driver is an increase in sheep shorn numbers to 70.9 million, up 2.8%.

The Australian Wool Production Forecasting Committee (AWPFC) has updated its forecast of shorn wool production for the 2021/22 season. This fourth forecast is for production of 314 million kilograms (Mkg) greasy, a 6.5% increase on the 2020/21 estimated shorn wool production of 294 Mkg greasy.

Incoming AWPFC Chairman, Stephen Hill said that "abundant summer feed in many major wool producing regions together with an early break to the season continues to favour sheep and wool production. Average cut per head is expected to increase by 3.2% to 4.54 kg greasy”. Most AWTA key test data (Table 2) continue their increase reflecting changes in seasonal conditions.

Australian sheep producers are continuing to rebuild the flock with an expected 3.1% increase in the number of sheep shorn to 69.0 million head during 2021/22. New South Wales continues to have the largest sheep flock with 22.35 million sheep shorn resulting in a state production of 103.9 Mkg greasy. Interstate transfers and sheep slaughter from Western Australia have returned to normal levels, indicating a rebuild in their sheep flock.

AWTA wool test volumes to the end of March 2022 were up by 8.5% on a year-on-year basis. First-hand offered wool at auction to the end of March 2022 (week 39) was up by 11.1%.

The AWPFC’s first forecast of shorn wool production for the 2022/23 season is 321 Mkg greasy, a 2.9% increase on the 2021/22 forecast because of modest increases in the number of sheep shorn (up 2.8%). The number of sheep expected to be shorn, 70.9 million head, remains low (20th percentile) and will continue to place a ceiling on further increases in shorn wool production. The low sheep numbers continue to be offset by the average cut per head (4.54 kg) which is at historically high levels (83rd percentile).

Table 1: Summary of Australian wool production






Fourth Forecast

Change y-o-y



First Forecast

Change y-o-y


Sheep numbers shorn

(million head)











Average cut per head












Shorn wool production

(Mkg greasy)












 Table 2: AWTA key test data for 2020/21 and 2021/22 July to March







Change y-o-y

Mean fibre diameter (µm)



+ 0.1

Staple length (mm)



- 0.4

Staple strength (N/ktex)



+ 0.8

Yield (%)



+ 1.1

Vegetable Matter (%)



+ 0.3


Stephen Hill commences as Chair of the Australian Wool Production Forecasting Committee from April 2022 replacing outgoing Chair Russell Pattinson who has chosen to retire from the role. The AWPFC thanks and acknowledges Russell’s contribution to the Committee over the past 15 years.

Stephen Hill has over 30 years’ experience in the global wool industry having worked across the entire supply chain - from the family farm in the Southern Highlands producing superfine wool, through to internationally based sales and business development roles. He has strong relationships throughout the Australian wool industry’s domestic and international customer base with exporters, early-stage processors and vertically integrated mills. His proven business acumen, industry knowledge and reputation place him well to Chair the AWPFC.

The National Committee drew on advice from the six State Committees, each of which includes growers, brokers, private treaty merchants, sheep pregnancy scanners, representatives from State Departments of Agriculture and the Australian Wool Testing Authority. Data and input were also drawn from AWEX, wool exporters, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, ABARES, and Meat and Livestock Australia.

The state and national Committees will next meet in early September 2022.

The full forecast report will be available on the AWI website at from 6th May 2022.

Released by:

Kevin Wilde

Australian Wool Innovation, Media Relations Manager

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