THE absence of shearing innovation in the past 50 years is indicative of a greater crisis within the wool industry, with a senior market commentator warning the industry must innovate or perish.
During a recent presentation at the Elders Balmoral Sire Evaluation, Harrow, Victoria, Mecardo market analyst Robert Herrmann’s critical analysis of the continuing contraction of the wool industry was a dire warning about the future of investment.
In the past decade, Merino wool production has plummeted 31 per cent, from 2.2 million to 1.5m.
The industry contraction has been constant, with Australian Wool Innovation reporting a loss of 18pc of shareholder levy payers since 2010, falling from 29,347 in June 2010 to 24,059 last financial year.
Despite evidence in high and medium rainfall areas in the last 15 years Merino enterprises were competitive to prime lamb returns, the industry had failed to attract return growers or newcomers, according to Mr Herrmann.