A FORECAST rapid reduction of the current WA wool season has been reflected in wool test figures for April.
Australian Wool Testing Authority (AWTA) statistics for last month showed 36,115 bales were tested in WA, down 1857 or 4.9 per cent on the number tested in April last year.
It was also 1359 fewer than tested in March and 1237 shy of the number tested in February.
Wool brokers have been predicting bale numbers would start to dry up earlier than usual this season because many woolgrowers had brought autumn shearings forward.
This had been to take advantage of record-price markets for mid and fine micron wools at the Western Wool Centre in January and February with no apparent discount for 80-85 millimetre staple length early-shorn wools over 95-100mm full wools, they said.
WA was the only State where fewer bales were tested this April compared to last April, the AWTA statistics showed.
Autumn shearings this season in Victoria and New South Wales saw April bale tests 22.7pc and 17.3pc higher respectively than last year.
The average bale tested in WA last month was slightly lighter, at 178.5 kilograms, than last year.
Average yield was also down – 60.5pc compared to 62.7pc for April last year – and average fibre diameter slimmed down to 19.4 micron from 20 micron.
Staple length averaged 83.3mm, 3.3mm shorter than April last year, and staple strength was also down.
While WA’s level of mid break wools jumped 10.2pc on April last year, and was the highest nationally at 48.2pc, it was trending down from 53.1pc in March, 57.6pc in February and 57.4pc in January.
Again, AWTA statistics confirmed an observation by some brokers that the level of mid break wools – the result of a relatively dry season and one of the factors buyers tend to make prices down on – would not be as high towards the end of the season as predicted earlier.