ICSA Sheep chair Sean McNamara has called for the immediate publication of the Wool Feasibility Study as anger grows among sheep farmers due to ridiculously low wool prices in Ireland.
Mr McNamara pointed out that while wool prices are struggling internationally, Irish wool prices are particularly bad. Farmers in the North and Great Britain have received 36.4p/kg STG (42c/kg) for wool for 2021 which is double what Irish farmers are being offered – with quotes here coming in at in at 15c/kg to 20c/kg,” he said.
“There is an urgent need for new thinking on how to increase the value of wool. The current inflationary environment is opening up opportunities for wool that may not have been economically viable up to now. Wool has a value as a fertiliser. The price of insulation is increasing rapidly in line with all construction costs and there is a real opportunity to capture that market using wool. However, as it stands farmers will not even be able to cover the cost of shearing again this year which is a total disgrace. Farmers are incredibly angry about this.”
Mr McNamara said he was disappointed that the much-anticipated Wool Feasibility Study has yet to be published. “We were promised the study would be delivered early in the year. Minister McConalogue has now said it will be published in the coming weeks, but we have a lot of ground to make up if we are to breathe life back into the wool industry and give sheep farmers a decent return in the process. The study must function as a launch pad for the wool sector, and serious investment and action must follow.”