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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2004  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/02/2004   
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Contents >> Agriculture >> The wool industry

Australia is the world's largest wool producing country, accounting for about 30% of world production. Wool production has been declining in Australia and the world for the last 10 years, and is expected to continue to do so in the medium term. Since 1990, Australian wool production has fallen by about 45%, to around 590,000 tonnes in 2001-02. Almost all of Australia's wool is exported, the major markets being China and Hong Kong, followed by Italy, some other western European countries and Japan.

Wool production

Shorn wool (greasy wool) contains an appreciable amount of grease, dirt, vegetable matter and other material. The exact quantities of these impurities in the fleece vary with climatic and pastoral conditions, seasonal fluctuations and the breed and condition of the sheep. It is, however, the clean wool fibre that is ultimately consumed by the textile industry, and the term 'clean yield' is used to express the net wool fibre content present in greasy wool.

The gross value of wool produced in 2001-02 increased to $2.7b (table 14.47), but was still less than half the value recorded in 1988-89 ($5.9b), the peak year in the wool boom of the 1980s.

14.47 SHEARING, WOOL PRODUCTION AND VALUE

Wool production

Total wool

Sheep and lambs shorn
Average fleece weight
Shorn wool
Other wool(a)
Quantity
Gross value
mill.
kg
’000 tonnes
’000 tonnes
’000 tonnes
$m

1995-96
146.7
4.40
646.1
43.6
689.7
2,559.7
1996-97
156.4
4.37
685.0
46.1
731.1
2,621.2
1997-98
155.5
4.12
640.7
48.9
689.6
2,753.9
1998-99
147.9
4.32
638.8
48.8
687.6
2,141.0
1999-2000
142.7
4.50
642.3
52.5
694.8
2,149.2
2000-01
136.8
4.30
589.8
54.9
644.7
2,541.2
2001-02
122.0
4.40
536.5
50.4
586.9
2,713.2

(a) Comprises dead and fellmongered wool, and wool exported on skins.
Source: Agriculture, Australia (7113.0); Livestock Products, Australia (7215.0); Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, ‘Australian Commodities Forecasts and Issues, March Quarter 2000’.

Wool receivals

The total amounts of taxable wool received by brokers and purchased by dealers in recent years are shown in table 14.48. They exclude wool received by brokers on which tax had already been paid by other dealers (private buyers) or brokers.

14.48 TAXABLE WOOL RECEIVALS

Receivals

Brokers
Dealers
Brokers
and dealers
Brokers as proportion
of total receivals
’000 tonnes
’000 tonnes
’000 tonnes
%

1995-96
552.9
93.1
646.1
85.6
1996-97
565.2
119.9
685.0
82.5
1997-98
524.0
116.7
640.7
81.8
1998-99
526.9
111.8
638.8
82.5
1999-2000
517.5
124.8
642.3
80.6
2000-01
487.2
102.6
589.8
82.6
2001-02
436.8
99.7
536.5
81.4

Source: Livestock Products, Australia (7215.0).


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