Wednesday, February 21, 2024

New pricing tool for strong wool in works

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Sector group and software start-up join forces to refine delivery of market indicators.
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Wool sector entity Wool Impact and data company Fusca have joined forces to re-establish a strong wool price indicator.

The organisations said they have recognised the need to develop a representative strong wool price indicator that provides a visible and consistent benchmark for the sector and allows them to monitor the impact of work being undertaken to drive demand and value.

Start-up Fusca said it has the technology to develop a commercial data platform that will provide farmers and the wool supply chain with more detailed and accurate pricing data based on the weekly wool auctions and export data. 

Fusca’s chief executive and co-founder, Ryan Cosgrove, said he has first-hand experience in the wool sector and knows the importance of reliable and relevant data.

His vision is to make it an easy and simple process to connect farmers to market data through Fusca.

“This was born out of my own frustration as a wool exporter. There’s so much we test and so much data on its value but it all lacked advanced analytics,” Cosgrove said.

“There are functionally infinite amounts of wool types we grow in New Zealand. 

“We understand each farm grows wool which is slightly different and that each time you change an attribute of that wool you alter the value and for too long we have relied on pigeonholing all types into a couple of dozen standard types.

“At Fusca we want to break that mould and let each user view the market through the lens of the exact type of wool that they grow, see what is relevant to them and the forces which are driving the value of not all wool, but their wool.”

Cosgrove said it’s no secret wool is in a tough spot right now. 

“We are building Fusca to help people to connect back with the market and really understand how the value of their own wool clip is driven.”   

It is about giving farmers direct access to independent data and as well as supporting woolbrokers.

“We need to raise awareness of the value of wool as natural fibre. However, to increase demand and value for wool, we need to better understand what the drivers for value are and be able to monitor these.

“Current pricing information for wool is aggregated into broad types that make it hard for farmers to know the value of their specific wool types and what the premiums and discounts are to inform where they invest,” Cosgrove said.

Fusca has launched its website, www.fusca.co.nz, with the Strong Wool Indicator in collaboration with Wool Impact set to be up and running at the end of March. Building the web app will happen over the coming months, aiming to be ready for a July launch in time for the new season.

“This is not my day job so we have a few long nights ahead of us,” said Cosgrove, who business development manager of wool at Carrfields NZ and board chair of Campaign for Wool NZ. 

Wool Impact executive Ross McIsaac reiterated the need to increase the availability of data and information for the wool sector to better inform it about what is produced, where it goes, how it is used, and its value.

“This is an exciting development for us to partner with a team that understands wool and is embracing technology to better utilise the data available to inform our sector,” McIsaac said.

“We are partnering to develop a strong wool price indicator that is representative of our sector and that can be accessed easily and free of charge by growers, the supply chain and brand partners.”

Fusca and Wool Impact are working together and with representatives from each stage of the domestic supply chain to develop the methodology for the indicator so that it is responsive to seasonal variation and gives a high-level view of the health of the industry. 

Fusca’s platform will provide access to historical and up-to-date pricing information for all wool types transacted and allow users to personalise reports.

“We want to be a source of truth for the performance of the sector.

“There are a lot of cool people trying to do cool things with wool but without a way to accurately track value, outside of total FOB value, it’s hard to really measure impact. 

“We want farmers and wool traders to have full visibility and transparency of the prices for their wool types and the comparative discounts and premiums available,” Cosgrove said.

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