Boost for sheep producers as high demand serves to double wool price

Sheep producers in Shetland are set to boost their income from wool this year with prices having more than doubled due to high demand.

Sample bales from the Woolgrowers of Shetland co-operative fetched up to £2 a kilo at auction in Bradford at the British Wool Marketing Board’s January wool sale, which sets the open market price for Shetland wool producers in 2011.

Co-op chairman John Scott said they were the best prices since the boom during the Korean War of the early 1950s when the United States stockpiled wool supplies for its soldiers who needed warmer clothes in combat.

The new boom is attributed to a drop in supply due to the decreasing size of the total UK clip with fewer sheep being kept.

At the Bradford auction, Shetland No.1 wool fetched 198.5p a kilo, up from 92.5p last year. No.2 was the highest at 200p, up from 87p last year. No.3 fetched 131p while Cheviot went for 160p and Cheviot cross for 156p, up from 77p last year.

Mr Scott said: “We are very encouraged by the achievement of more realistic prices.”

He expects the keen demand for good-quality clean fleeces will see Shetland producers respond by breeding sheep for fine wool.

The woolgrowers’ co-op sends a sample of wool each year for grading and sale at auction in Bradford to establish an open market price for wool from Shetland producers. This year 6.5 tonnes was sent.


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