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Nov 14, 2018 | Latest News, Press Releases | 0 comments

14 NOVEMBER 2018

ICSA sheep chairman John Brooks has called for the establishment of a dedicated Irish Wool Forum to address the continuous decline of the industry. Mr Brooks was speaking following a string of bleak UK wool auctions, where low prices and the low volume of sales have caused concern. Commenting, Mr Brooks said, “Sales at the Bradford Wool Sales are a key indicator of what Irish Farmers can expect to achieve for wool. Unfortunately, all indications point to an impending total price collapse.”

The total weight offered for auction at Bradford last week (6 Nov) was 1.475m kg while the total weight sold was 0.735m kg, bringing a clearance of just 49.8%. Standard sales would often see over 2m kg up for sale with a clearance of over 90%. “With prices also continuing to fall, the result is that buyers are not quoting for Irish wool as the market just isn’t there.”

Continuing Mr Brooks said, “It makes no sense to sit back and watch an industry decline into oblivion. We already have some great businesses here that harness all the qualities of wool and produce the finest products including: fabrics, bedding, carpeting and for insulation purposes. While we commend these businesses, they utilise only a fraction of wool produced annually. There is massive scope to do more.”

Mr Brooks stressed that a concerted effort must be made to ensure this abundant natural resource can reach its full potential. However, he also noted that there could also be animal welfare issues if farmers cannot sustain the cost of shearing. “This is a real vicious circle; the price achieved for wool is not covering the cost of shearing. Then, to add insult to injury, we see what should be considered a valuable and environmentally friendly raw material being dumped.”

Concluding Mr Brooks said, “The reality is the future should be bright for wool. At a time when policies in all sectors are moving towards anti-waste positions, I see no reason why wool should be treated any differently. ICSA is calling for initiatives both at here at home and at EU level that would drive the industry forward. It is imperative on so many levels that this issue of such a wasted natural resource is addressed.”


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ICSA Tillage chair Gavin Carberry has said Minister McConalogue must put money on the table if the decline in the area under tillage is to be reversed. “The tillage sector is in dire need of a significant and multi-year financial boost which must be delivered if the Department are serious about meeting the target of increasing the tillage area to 400,000ha by 2030 as part of the Climate Action Plan,” he said.

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