The wool rejected by Hawke’s Bay Woolscourers was contaminated with raddle or spray markers that won’t wash out during scouring and the single-day volume highlights the absolute gravity of the problem.
The bales were barred from export and because the wool cannot be scoured there will be a major writedown in value, Dawson said.
It is why the processing and export sector is urging farmers to ensure all raddle and spray marked wool is removed in the shearing shed.
The Hawke’s Bay firm is a subsidiary of New Zealand Woolscouring, whose chief executive Nigel Hales said the rejected wool would have been bought by exporters and allocated to particular orders, often with tight specifications, only to have farm lots rejected out of the packages.
“This could cause delays in shipments, added cost for the exporters, added costs for the scourers and a headache for the brokers and merchants who have sold the wool to the exporters.”
Spray markers are transferring through to the wool grease in the fleece.
The tainted wool can harm the industry’s reputation if it is not sorted out quickly, Dawson said.
The cost of this will be high and ultimately it will come back on the wool grower.
Low strong wool prices mean everyone in the industry is already struggling but, if anything, the issue is bringing groups closer together.
Three groups at the national council meeting in Christchurch last Monday export 75% of NZ’s wool.
“No-one’s happy and everyone understands the farmers’ plight, so thank goodness for the good meat returns. Without that no-one knows where the industry would be.”
Industry costs continue to rise and everyone is in the same boat, getting by on margins not worth much on products not worth much.
That means everyone appears ready to try to do their bit so reasonable returns are possible.
Dawson said the national council wants to sign on to the existing national quality standards system covering the meat industry to get the wool sector up to the same standards.
It also hopes the wool industry working group’s efforts with the Government will lead to a structure allowing new funding for more wool promotion.
“We all know that promotion has been neglected. Wool’s a great story and its message needs a lot more punch.”
As well as wanting spray and raddle-stained wool removed from the fleece in the shearing shed, the scour, export and broking groups are asking farmers and others involved in marking sheep to put the marks on top of the animal’s nose or ears and away from the body wool.