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In Your Field: Marie Prebble: 'Wool will double in price in five years'

It has been a productive few weeks on-farm. I have sheared all my lambs and moved them to better grazing so they will now grow on well.

However, it has been hard to know whether to push lambs along for sale before the end of October, with a no-deal scenario looming, but I shall not be selling stores any time soon.

 

Grass growth has been intermittent, but I have enough area to keep hold of all my stock, including cull ewes for a time, and I expect to offer for sale some breeding ewes once I have had a sort out.

 

Our 12 hectares (30 acres) of wheat has been harvested and straw baled, with Dad working hard to clear it so we can have a short turnaround time to get the field drilled with a legume-rich sward, which will mark our transition to 100 per cent pasture.

 

We received a derogation to have the hedges cut a little early so our brilliant fencing contractors could get to work, putting up the perimeter fence. It is always great to see their skill and the quality of their work using their chestnut stakes.

 

The water supply will be laid in at a later date and the internal fence splitting the field in two can wait until spring.


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As part of my National Sheep Association (NSA) Samuel Wharry Memorial Award, I recently visited British Wool in Bradford for a tour of the facilities and to learn more about the wool supply chain, meeting with chief executive Joe Farren to discuss the challenges and opportunities faced by the wool industry.

 

With a lot of work being done on developing the Chinese market for beds, carpet and clothing ranges, I was told the price paid to wool producers could be expected to double in the next five years across all wool types.

 

Three main objectives would be to maintain processing in the UK, continue to develop a stronger domestic market and become dominant in the premium market in China, driving demand through brand awareness and new product development of British Wool products.

 

British Wool is owned by sheep farmers so must continually act in the best interests of those farmers and has a huge role in delivering shearing training across the UK to drive high standards across the industry.

 

My NSA project considers best practice at shearing time and I look forward to gathering information to explore what more can be done to improve conditions for sheep, shearers, and farmers alike.

 

I should be grateful if sheep farmers and shearing contractors would complete my short questionnaires.

 

All survey data will be totally anonymous and my report will be available next spring.

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