NFU Scotland is highlighting the need to determine the best and
most profitable future for the Scottish wool clip.
Shearing costs are around £1 per ewe
Currently, the entire British wool clip is handled by the British
Wool Marketing Board (BWMB). This is a statutory body set up under
the British Wool Marketing Scheme Order of 1950. Under the current
act of parliament any producer with more than 4 sheep has to register
with the wool board. The producer places the marketing of that
wool with the board. This board then has the duty of collecting,
sorting and auctioning that wool on behalf of the producer.
NFU Scotland’s Livestock Committee has been increasingly
concerned with the returns provided to NFUS members by the BWMB.
After a presentation given to the committee by Ian Hartley, Managing
Director of the BWMB, those concerns have not been assuaged.
Kelvin Pate, NFUS Livestock Committee Chairman, said:
“The committee’s concerns relate to the high overheads
of running the wool board versus falling returns. The current returns
do not make for attractive reading. The auction price for greasy
wool is running at around 75 pence per kilo. The BWMB requires
a 31 pence deduction to recover its own costs. It then passes back
the balance to producers. This can sometimes be a return of only
15-20 pence per kilo, depending on the type of wool.
“Shearing costs are around £1 per ewe and other costs
such as haulage and casual labour employed rolling fleeces all
add to those costs. This means a dead loss on the value of the
clip. It is not so long ago that farm rents were paid by the wool
cheque. This is a serious concern and perhaps now is the time to
consider alternatives strategies.
“NFUS believes that there should be a referendum of wool
producers in Scotland to determine whether the present marketing
structure is delivering for producers or whether an independent
report should be commissioned to devise a future marketing scheme
which will deliver the full rewards.”
Suffolk Sheep Society's Search to Cut Flock Labour Costs
Farmers' Food for Thought at Energy Event
Lleyn Sheep Set to Soar to New Heights