WITH 29 potential wool classers watching with interest at the Western Wool Centre (WWC) on Wednesday last week, the wool market began a recovery from the previous Thursday's correction.
The Western Market Indicator finished the only trading day last week at 1286 cents a kilogram clean, more than halfway back from the correction after the previous Wednesday's best in more than three years of 1293c/kg.
Thirteen Year 12 students from the WA College of Agriculture, Cunderdin, watched trading, having visited to find out what happens to wool after the shearing shed.
They had the added interest of seeing buyers compete for the 52-bale clip from the flock run as one of the college's farm enterprises, with the wool sold through Westcoast Wools.
The 11 lines averaged 699c/kg greasy, with a top price of 880c/kg paid for eight bales.
College farm technician Wayne Laird, who accompanied the students, said they were studying for a Certificate III in Wool Clip Preparation.
"Today's trip was so they could learn a bit about the next step in the wool handling process - what happens after they've done their bit in the shed," Mr Laird said.
First stop was the Australian Wool Testing Authority (ATWA) centre where greasy wool is sampled, measured and tested They trouped into the neighbouring WWC and watched as fleeces and pieces went under the hammer in two auction rooms.
Then it was on to Westcoast Wool's wool store in Barrington Street, Bibra Lake, for lunch and a tour hosted by director, auctioneer and wool buyer Brad Faithful and junior wool buyer Justin Haydock, who joined in January and is working with Bill Kingston in Albany.
Mr Faithful explained Westcoast Wools was a broker selling wool on behalf of growers, a wool buyer and an exporter sending shipping containers of wool overseas.
Westcoast Wools is unique in WA in that it was also an early-stage wool processor, he said.
Students saw wool being processed by decotter machines and some were fascinated by the process which crushed the dags in daggy wool and turned them into sanitised garden fertiliser pellets in a second machine.
The visit to Westcoast Wools was organised by Bolgart wool buyer Glenn McGill who, with his assistant Paula Young, accompanied the students for the day.
Sixteen mature-age students from the CY O'Connor Institute Narrogin also toured the ATWA centre and WWC.
Advanced skills lecturer in wool classing Robert Carter said the Narrogin students were all experienced wool handlers and included a shearing contractor and shearers who were looking to "move to the next level" in their careers.
They were all studying for a Certificate IV in wool classing, he said.