Prices soar for premium NSW fine wool

A PREMIUM fine wool clip from New South Wales generated intense bidding competition in the Quality Wool catalogue at auction recently, resulting in prices reaching well above the sale average.

The seven finest, 17-micron bales of the Mullins family’s 65-bale clip achieved 2837 cents per kilogram clean.

They averaged an impressive $2765 per bale over 60 bales.

The buyer, Mark Symes from G Schneider Australia, commented that the Mullins’ clip was well-prepared and displayed superior measurements, which he said was scarce in the current market and was why it attracted a premium.

The wool is headed to the company’s topmaking mill in Egypt.

It was a welcome result for hard-working wool growers David and Debbie Mullins, Pinetrees-Bocobra Valley, near Manildra in NSW.

The Mullins have been farming since 1988 on their 1010-hectare property, with a further 142ha leased last season.

They have always enjoyed running Merinos and taken pride in producing quality wool, with the help of their four sons, Joel, Shawn, Jake and Kaleb.

“The boys have all been big participants as they have grown up and now we’ve got a couple of ‘grandies’, Riley and Tahli, running around too, which is lovely. They live on-farm with Jake and their mum, Hannah,’’ David said.

“It’s something we put a fair bit of effort into and sometimes it pays off. It’s good to get the feedback and be recognised for our hard work.”

The Mullins’ also crop some oats for feed, but predominately concentrate on improving clover and ryegrass pastures.

While David doesn’t believe they are doing anything particularly special in their enterprise, he said nutrition was vital to the quality of their wool, so he liked to ensure the sheep were well fed throughout the season, particularly the ewes prior to joining and lambing.

“I like to feed regularly. We feed daily when pasture is a bit short, as I believe it keeps the wool in better condition,” he said.

Their flock is based on local bloodlines, with rams sourced from Adrienne O’Keeffe’s Bungoona Merino stud for the last seven years.

David said the Bungoona genetics had helped them increase the overall frame of their sheep, without compromising the fineness or quality of wool.

The family aims for an autumn and spring lambing, with lambing percentages currently averaging 90-95 per cent.

Shearing takes place in March and the clip is marketed immediately afterwards through Quality Wool.

David said the family had been working with Quality Wool for many years and they had known Central West Wool Area Manager, Anthony Windus, his whole life, so the relationship was a solid one.

“We’ve always gone to auction because it’s worked well for us, and I usually just try and take the market as it comes, but Anthony works hard to market the clip as best he can,” he said.

“I like to keep abreast of the market myself, but Anthony certainly offers us his advice and we’ve been quite happy with the way our wool has been marketed.”

Anthony said ensuring the Mullins’ clip was well-exposed to the market was key to it being so well sought-after by buyers, but the real success was behind the family’s toil and dedication.

“They were able to capitalise on the market, but it’s a credit to what the Mullins family have produced,’’ Anthony said.