Markets for 2020 wool have started to pick up, with prices up around 38% compared to the slump experienced over the last 12 months.

Ulster Wool parent company British Wool reported it had now sold around 97% of its stock, with the remaining 2020 clip to be carried forward into the new selling season.

Last May, the organisation warned its unsold stock totalled more than 10 million kilos - more than three times the amount expected at this time of year.

Prices 'gaining momentum'

A spokesman said the market was starting to "gain momentum", explaining that prices had started to recover since February.

The average auction price at the end of the 2020 selling season finished at 69p/kg, compared to 50p–55p/kg for most of the last 12 months.

Andrew Hogley, who holds the position of chief executive for both organisations, said: “As the 2021 wool selling season starts in July we are optimistic the price recovery we have seen in recent months will continue during the course of the next year.

"With a healthier stock position, reduced cost base and recovering auction prices - this puts British Wool and Ulster Wool in a much stronger position to deliver better value for our producers in 2021.

Due to the shearing season this year being at least three weeks behind compared to the previous season, this will support supply and the mix of wool available for the early season sales."

Hogley concluded: “I’d encourage all producers to support British Wool and Ulster Wool, and for those who have 2020 wool still on the farm, to deliver this into us this season.

"Every kilo of wool handled makes an important contribution to supporting your organisation ensuring we can continue to provide a high standard of service to all producers, drive demand with our customers and downstream manufacturers and continue to represent your best interests as wool producers.”