Ulster Wool will be making payments worth £8.4 million to its members for the 2021 clip, representing an overall average price of 36.4p/kg.
Ulster Wool CEO, Andrew Hogley, commented: ”The 135% average increase over the prior year is down to improved auction prices for wool over the last 12 months, alongside a push to reduce operational costs.
“With the challenges the industry is facing, we are really pleased that this year’s payments are an improvement.
“Although the price is not yet where we would like it to be, it represents a huge recovery since the difficulties of 2020. We continue to work hard to improve returns further for our members.”
Ulster Wool outlook on market
Ulster Wool said that it is optimistic that the strong demand seen over recent months will be sustained, that the recovery in the wool market will continue through 2022, and that this will result in further price improvement for the 2022 wool clip.
Ulster Wool’s collective marketing system collects, grades and tests wool on behalf of its farmer members.
It strives to deliver a consistent product for buyers and manufacturers whilst maximising the prices received at auction.
“Everything we do has the primary aim of adding value to Northern Ireland wool in order to boost payments to our members. As always, grade returns are determined by the average auction price for the season,” Hogley continued.
Returns for the 2021 clip will be around 40p/kg for many core grades and around 30p/kg for Blackface wool. This is a significant improvement on 2020 prices due to sales being badly affected by the global health pandemic.
Some speciality types such as Bluefaced Leicester will receive significantly higher returns on average £5.50/kg. An additional £1.00/kg is also being paid out on most types of organic certified wool.
“We recognise that our members have a choice to deliver wool to us. On the whole our returns are competitive relative to the prices offered by our competitors and in many cases significantly higher,” Hogley added.
“However, unlike our competitors we don’t make a profit from wool. We sell on our members’ behalf and deduct the cost of marketing and processing. The more wool we have to sell, the lower our costs per kg and the better the returns are for all our members.
“The free wool haulage offer introduced in 2021 by Ulster Wool will continue this year,” Hogley stated.
This means that members who take wool to any of Ulster Wool’s drop points will not be charged onward carriage.
Other improvements introduced last year which will continue for 2022 include the lower threshold for the volume premium payment.
“Clips of 2,000kg or more will continue to receive an additional 4p/kg with further incremental increases for those delivering larger volumes,” Hogley added.
“Ulster Wool’s primary aim is to maximise the value of wool for our members.
“Now more than ever, it is crucial that farmers work together and market their wool through Ulster Wool so that together, we can maximise returns for this year’s clip and beyond.”