A NEW program to reverse the
decline of young people entering the wool industry is helping breathe new life
into one of Australia’s oldest agricultural sectors.
Adelaide-based wool broker,
Quality Wool, has created a dedicated program for young team members to benefit
their careers and growers across the country.
Quality Wool managing director
Mark Dyson said the company was investing in the industry’s future, despite the
tough seasonal conditions affecting wool production.
“For the best part of 20 or 25
years, there has been limited employment of young people in the industry,” Mr
Dyson said. “It wasn’t that flavoursome to them with depressed wool prices and
declining sheep numbers. “The young ones were also saying there weren’t courses
available and they were scared because they thought it would be too technical.
“We are committing to young people with a workshop program that educates them
on-the-job while they are employed.”
In June, the company hired six
people, including three South Australians, aged 21 to 34, who have been posted
around Australia to assist staff and support growers. The employees have a
range of backgrounds including shearing, wool classing and farmhand work and
will now learn the technical side of the industry. This includes lotting,
sampling and testing of wool through to identifying the wool types suitable for
The program is assisted by
Australian Wool Innovation consultant Carol Stubbs, who has been involved in
the team’s understanding of the farm to fabric wool process. “From a greasy
bale of wool, they have been shown all the way through to the end garment
product that has been produced from different wool types,” Mr Dyson said. “It
allows them to understand the importance of classing and preparing wool for
growers.” Ms Stubbs said the education has given staff the context and bigger
picture understanding of their roles in the industry. “The training goes
through all aspects of the wool pipeline, including the latest product
innovations,” she said.
“What happens at fibre growing
stage and leading up to auction has far-reaching effects on the final product –
and on demand from the customer end. “Every step of the supply chain is
important, especially since Australia is the lea ding supplier of Merino
apparel in the world. ”
Jamestown resident Hayden
Hillman, 22, said the program gave him an opportunity to create a career in the
agricultural industry. “My grandpa had a farm and sold up around 2000 and I always
knew I wanted to do something in farming,” Mr Hillman said. “This has given me
new opportunities and a career path.”
Mr Hillman was working as a
farmhand at Old Ashrose Merino Stud before being picked up by Quality Wool .
“It’s a great opportunity to see a different side of the industry, ” he said .
“I’ve had heaps of opportunities, but the best so far was seeing the auction
sales in Melbourne , the showroom and the overall process coming together . “Ultimately,
my aim would be to go into wool broking – that would be the ideal outcome from
James Kellett has spent the past
four years as a farmhand on the Eyre Peninsula and is one of the other South
Australians who joined Quality Wool. Originally from Adelaide, Mr Kellett said
for someone who was not familiar with the industry, the program provided a wider
perspective on the whole process in simpler terms. Mr Kellett said it had been
a great journey so far and he particularly liked the visit to the Geelong wool
store and Melbourne auction rooms, including meeting with wool buyers . Quality
Wool planned to continue the workshop program in the future .
Designers make plans for wool prize winners
MAL GILL - FARM WEEKLY
Designers of individual exclusive fashions like this from Green Embassy, created from three metres of fabric made from WA Merino wool provided by Scanlan Wools Pty Ltd, will vie for the Merino Wool Design Awards at Eco Fashion Week Australia 2018 in Fremantle next month. Photograph by Aidan Green.
SIXTEEN WA fashion designers will compete next month for the Merino Wool Design Award sponsored by Scanlan Wools Pty Ltd and partnering company Sunshine Textile Group from China.
The award, which is part of Eco Fashion Week Australia (EFWA) 2018 in Fremantle, requires the designers – 10 of them are students – to each produce a fashion garment from three metres of Merino wool fabric.
O’Connor wool merchant Scanlan Wools provided the 18.5 micron Merino wool from its woolgrower clients.
It was sent to China and woven at Sunshine’s wool mill, with the fabric returned to Perth and distributed to designers chosen to compete for the award.
Their creations will be shown at a November 15 gala night during EFWA.
The 10 student designers vying for the award are Molly Ryan, Sarina Roose and Dana Checksfield from Curtin University, Maisey Gedded, Philippa Canavan and Winston Felicia Addon from Edith Cowan University and Caitlin Gerken, Pamela Prince, Anika Engelbrecht and Rebekah Grimlinger from South Metropolitan TAFE, Bentley Campus.
The six eco designer labels competing are Scanlan Collective, Skylark The Label, Clawdi, Gemini Kite, Fabric Of Nature and Green Embassy.
“We’re proud to be involved with Eco Fashion Week Australia,” said Peter Scanlan.
“We’re also pleased to provide this talented group of fashion designers with raw, but expertly produced, pure superfine Merino wool fabric sourced from wool growers in our fabulous State of Western Australia and produced by our Chinese partners, Sunshine.
“We can’t wait to see what is created and urge our WA wool growing community to come to see their wool on show.”
Mr Scanlan said he would also try to have the designs displayed at next year’s Make Smoking History Wagin Woolorama.
EFWA creator and chief executive Zuhal Kuvan-Mills said the organisation, which highlighted ethically produced fashion, conservation and sustainability education, was proud to promote WA Merino wool.
“Showcasing the product of WA Merino wool growers, while featuring the creativity of WA designers to our world eco media that is travelling to Australia for the week-long EFWA event in Perth, is very uplifting to our team,” Ms Kuvan-Mills said.
The second annual EFWA will feature collections by Curtin University and Edith Cowan University fashion design students and the Anita Moon Awards and Australian Made Best New Designer Award.
Another 13 Australian and international fashion designers’ work will be showcased in a collaborative show – the EFWA Upcycling Challenge with each creating one runway look from men’s dress shirts.
Community events will include mending workshops, fashion swaps, pop-up op shops, eco seminars and a designer showroom offering work from Australian designers.
For EFWA 2018 event details, including runway schedules and links to buy tickets, see ecofashionweekaustralia.com
SCANLAN REJIGS TO SAFEGUARD ITS FUTURE
BY MAL GILL
A WA wool industry institution
has changed more than its name in a succession plan, ensuring a legacy of
expertise and the next generation’s involvement is maintained into the future.
After more than three decades as Peter Scanlan Wools, the O’Connor wool merchant
has become Scanlan Wools Pty Ltd. Peter and Margaret Scanlan, who took a gamble
in 1986 and borrowed money to establish the business at it Chamberlain Street
address, have retained a controlling interest but their management team and
five daughters now also have a say in the future of the business. Store manager
Darren Shivers, who started in the industry when he was 16, Karen Smith who
worked with Mr Scanlan at Melco Pty Ltd before he started his business and wool
buyer Steve Noa, who has more than 20 years’ experience dealing with Chinese
woollen mills, are now shareholders. So are the Scanlan daughters Caroline
Feeney, Marie Brown, Emily Linke and Louise and Christine who have become the
thirdgeneration involved in the wool trade. Mr Scanlan, 74, who followed his
father Frank into the wool industry and was one of the first Australian
businessmen into China after it opened its borders to international trade in
1980, said he would eventually become executive chairman. But at present Avon
Valley woolgrower, Fremantle property developer, Planfarm chairman and family
friend Gerard O’Brien was acting chairman, Mr Scanlan said. Mr Scanlan said it
was Mr O’Brien in the first place who raised the succession issue and planning
for the business into the future. “He was with us in China last year,’’ Mr
Scanlan said. Peter and Margaret Scanlan, together with Mr Noa, hosted an
18-day tour of China for 38 woolgrowers who visited a mix of tourist
attractions and the world’s major wool processors. “We were just talking, but
what he said made me think and he offered to help set it up for the future,” Mr
Scanlan said. “I’m glad we did it because if we hadn’t, eventually we might
have had to shut the doors, but this way the business continues on. “It’s only
fair on the farmers who have been with us a long time – we are often dealing
with the second and third generation on the farm – so that they know what’s
happening into the future. “It also keeps a very experienced wool team
together. “Darren and Karen have been with me from the start and Steve has
great experience with China. “With the three of them and me (Mr Scanlan has 57
years’ experience in the industry having started with Hulme Wool Scouring when
he left school) I would say, without a doubt, that we have the most experienced
wool team in the country,” he said. Scanlan Wools has a strong association with
Sunshine Textile Group in China, one of the world’s major garment
manufacturers. For the past two years, Scanlans has provided local wool and
Sunshine has created fashion apparel from it that has been worn by models at
the Make Smoking History Wagin Woolorama in a demonstration to woolgrowers of
what happens to their wool beyond the farm gate. Louise Scanlan, who runs her
own formal clothing hire business, has been involved in those Woolorama fashion
shows. Sister Emily Linke and cousin Leanne Greig (nee Scanlan) have created
and run their own business, Scanlan Collective, producing and marketing a
stylish range of Merino wool children’s clothing from a Scanlan woolstore in
O’Connor. They have used the family’s knowledge and experience to source the
wool and have it knitted and dyed in Australia and the garments manufactured in
Designers make plans
for wool prize winners
Wool buyer Steve Noa (LEFT accountant
Michael Collins, Karen Smith, Caroline Feeney (nee Scanlan), STORE manager
Darren Shivers, Marie Browne (nee Scanlan), family friend Gerard O'Brien,
Louise and CHRISTINE Scanlan and Emily Linke (nee Scanlan), with business
founders Margaret and Peter Scanlan in FRONT celebrating the creation of
Scanlan Wools Pty Ltd
Shed abuzz in time of plenty
4 September 2018
Williams woolgrowers Ashley, Rita andBruno Maiolo at their woolshed during the August shearing of their Forest Lodge
woolclip.Picture: Bob Garnant
The mood was buoyant at the Maiolo
family’s annual Forest Lodge woolclip harvest, in anticipation of the market
The four-stand shearing team had the
shed buzzing, with freshly shorn hogget fleeces of 19 to 21 microns being
classed, bailed up and branded for sale.
Bruno Maiolo, who farms with his wife
Rita and daughter Ashley, runs a flock of 4000 Merino ewes of Auburn Valley and
Barooga blood-lines on their 2500ha Williams/Narrogin property.
Williams S & R Cowcher Shearingcontractor boss Steven Cowcher oversees the Forest Lodge woolclip.Picture: BobGarnant
Narrogin shearer Nigel Dicksen taking the fleece off a Merino.Picture:Bob Garnant
Woolclasser Maharatia Takurua during the wool harvest.Picture: BobGarnant
“We are selecting for good staple
length and crimp,” he said.
The August-shorn Forest Lodge woolclip
will be marketed through Spearwood Wool, upon advice from director Andrew
Mr Maiolo, who also runs 400 Angus
breeders, said he was a stockman through and through.
“I had a dairy background when we were
farming at Coolup, from which we added this sheep and cattle farm in 1994,” he
“We are hopeful for good wool and
livestock prices this season.”
S & R Cowcher shearing contractor
Stephen Cowcher said wool harvesting had started to pick up, with a busy season
“We have had some recent challenges
with rain delaying our schedule, but it is all go now,” he said. “We will go
flat out until Christmas, but as a rule, no later than December 21, so we can
celebrate the holiday with family and friends.”
Mr Cowcher said wool producers were
pleased with recent returns and, as the saying goes, “the cockies are hanging
upside down from the power lines”.
“Client’s woolclips may be a little
under average on woolcut because of the late start to the growing season,” he
Top-gun shearer Nigel Dicksen said
there were plenty of sheep around to keep him in work 10 months a year.
Classing the Forest Lodge clip,
Maharatia Takurua was keeping pace with the shearing and wool-handling team.
Mr Basire said the Maiolo family’s
130-bale, 20-micron woolclip, with an expected yield of 70 per cent, would be
tested upon receival at its Forrestdale facility.
“Spearwood Wool works on a best-priced
system, monitoring the market at a day-to-day rate,” he said. “Expectations are
for the market to firm from Eastern States levels last week.”
Mr Basire said low mid-break wools
would be keenly sought after. “There has been good interest in the forward
market because of recent high wool prices,” he said. “We have forward-sold 2019
and 2020 woolclips at record forward levels for Spearwood Wool.”
Mr Basire said supply would continue
to have a factor on wool values, with wool clips expected to be down 10 to 15
per cent because of seasonal conditions.
“Recent rains will have a turn-around
effect on the late start to the growing season,” he said.
“We also expect wool supply to
increase over the long-term with producers holding on to more wethers.”
Mr Basire and his business partner,
Rob Thorn, have more than 30 years’ combined experience in the industry.
“I had previous experience as a
buyer-exporter with Modiano Australia, a leading international Australian wool
trader,” he said.
“Rob was had a senior position with
Rural Traders, as head auctioneer and senior valuer, before taking over as
Mr Basire said Spearwood Wool handled
about 20,000 bales a year and had an extensive grower contact list of more than
“Exporter support is strong and ever
increasing, with over 30 different companies buying wool from us to deliver to
all parts of the wool using globe,” he said.
“We offer a wide range of wool-selling
options, including flexi-sell, forward pricing and auction when required.”
Spearwood Wool is a member of the
Private Treaty Wool Merchants of Australia Inc and the Australian Wool
Exchange, which Mr Basire said provided confidence to woolgrowers that they
were dealing with a business that had strong industry ties.
Six bales of Merino wool ranging from 16.2 to 18.2 microns donated by Dyson Jones/AWN and sold at the Perth, Sydney and Melbourne wool sales, reaped the benefits of a buoyant wool market to help celebrate the 90th anniversary of the RFDS and continue its vital work in rural and remote areas.
Dyson Jones/AWN has donated Merino wool bales to the RFDS to be auctioned at the final sale of the financial year wool selling season for more than 15 years and has raised a total of $144,680.02 for the RFDS from the initiative.
The Fremantle sale raised $4192.40 from two bales of 17.2 micron wool which was purchased by Russell Fraser, representing TechWool Australia, one of the biggest buyers of Australian wool.
Mr Fraser said TechWool Australia has been a heavy supporter of the RFDS fundraiser in the past.
“TechWool has purchased the RFDS wool on several occasions in the past 10 years, is proud to support it again this year and looks forward to supporting it into the future,” he said.
RFDS WA community engagement manager Suzette Pritchard attended the Fremantle charity auction last week and said the organisation is very grateful for 15 years of support from Dyson Jones/AWN.
“RFDS can’t stay in the air without community support and fundraising initiatives such as this, every dollar helps,” Ms Pritchard said.
“It’s wonderful to see a regional based industry giving back to rural and remote communities and it’s even more special to get such a bumper result during our 90th anniversary year.”
Dyson Jones/AWN managing director John Colley said each year the dollars raised at the auctions assist its wool growing clients on the land and outback to access services that would otherwise not be available to them.
“The RFDS is always there providing extensive primary health care and 24-hour emergency services to people over an area of 7.69 million square kilometres,” Mr Colley said.
“This is a great opportunity for Dyson Jones/AWN to give back and simply say thank you to the RFDS for looking after our mates in the country who work so hard to keep us in wool and our dynamic industry alive and thriving.
“It was great to see our big year in wool sales reflected in the total amount raised this year.”
The Sydney sale saw two lots ranging from 16.7-17 micron sell for a total of $6927, purchased by Murray Bragg, New England Wool, who bought the wool on behalf of iconic, family-owned, Italian fabric house Vitale Barberis Canonico, which has famously been in the wool trade since 1663.
Mr Bragg said he was delighted to help out the RFDS.
“We’re all in this together,” he said.
“I know if I was ever stuck out in the bush I’d like to know the RFDS was there for me and the same goes for our woolgrowers and their families.”
Lou Morsch, director of wool buying for Modiano Australia, paid $6341 for two bales ranging from 16.2-18.2 micron at the Melbourne sale.
Modiano is one of the world’s most pre-eminent Italian wool processors.
oddments, dags to help send students to Canberra
29 Jun 2018
& Livestock is a keen sponsor and supporter of rural and regional
communities and one of its latest efforts centres around helping students from
Boyup Brook District High School (BBDHS) to tour the nation’s capital.
The company has
combined with the BBDHS Parents and Citizens Association (P&C), encouraging
local farmers to donate their wool oddments and dags to help raise funds for
the school’s Year 5/6 camp to Canberra in December.
& Livestock Boyup Brook/Kojonup representative, Brenton Tynan, said it was
easy for people to get involved in the ‘Dag Drive’, with every donation helping
the students reach their target.
farmers could drop off any wool oddments and dry dags, with Merino wool bagged
separately to crossbred wool, at the local Westcoast Wool & Livestock
store, which was conveniently located in the main street of Boyup Brook.
Alternatively, donations also can be collected on-farm.
The donations will
then be transported to the company’s Katanning store, which is the only regional
Australian Wool Testing Authority-accredited wool handling and testing facility
in WA, before being taken to its main wool store in Bibra Lake.
“The P&C will
get paid for the total weighted donations and by-product, with Westcoast
on-selling the wool component,” Brenton said.
“The by-product is
a unique, high-quality and weed-free pelletised sheep manure, which is produced
from our dag crushing machinery and pelletising plant.”
Dags are processed
through a hammermill and crushed, separating the wool from the manure before
the pelletising process, which uses high heat to kill any remaining weed seeds.
The sheep manure
pellets will be available for purchase at the Boyup Brook Co-Op.
According to BBDHS
P&C President Sam Curran, the idea for the ‘Dag Drive’ fundraiser came from
parent and P&C committee member Sally Thomson, who she said had put in a
lot of effort to make it happen.
“It’s such a great
community initiative and one we really hope people get behind,” Sam said.
Grateful Year 5-6
students from Boyup Brook District High School meeting local wool grower and
Southwest Cattle Haulage owner David Inglis (left) who was making an oddments
and dags donation, with West Coast Wool & Livestock Boyup Brook/Kojonup
representative Brenton Tynan and parent and school P&C committee member
“We are hoping that
if it is successful, then it can be ongoing to help raise funds for any future
“We will be keeping
everyone updated with a ‘Dag Drive’ progress tally, which will be printed in
the school newsletter.
“Having the support
of local businesses such as Westcoast makes all the difference to our
fundraising efforts and, in turn, positively impacts the students at BBDHS,’’
“We are more than
happy to help out and this is just one of many fundraising and sponsorship
efforts by Westcoast in the community,” Brenton said.
“It’s the same in
other towns around WA. We live and work in these communities and the company
understands how important it is to give back.”
information on how to get involved, farmers can contact Brenton Tynan on 0459
222 318 or Sally Thomson on 0409 372 440.
CENTRAL VIC WOOLGROWERS EDUCATED ON TESTING AND MARKETING CLIP
Karee Wool woolgrowers evening
HOW has an industry-owned
organisation that relies on total volume of wool, managed to generate
revenue when volume has decreased by almost 500 million kilograms in the last
This is the question Australian Wool
Testing Authority (AWTA) Eastern Australia sampling operations
manager Tim Steere attempted to answer at a woolgrowers evening at
Local farmers attended the
event, organised by Karee Wool, on Monday night, where they heard
presentations about wool testing and marketing their clip.
The main guest speaker
was Southern Aurora partner Mike Avery, who spoke about how sustainable
current high wool prices are into the future, and provided insight into the
financial wool contract, via the Sydney Futures Exchange, as an option for growers
to manage their forward risk by establishing an agreed price, micron and
quantity with an export company.
Mr Steere presented on how an
industry-owned organisation that relies on total volume of wool, managed
to generate revenue when volume has decreased by almost 500 million kilograms
in the past three decades.
AWTA Eastern Australia sampling operations
manager Tim Steere says there are numerous ways the organisation works to
maintain generating revenue.
Mr Steere said the organisation was
not-for-profit, so its aim was to break even.
“We’re owned and operated by the
Australian wool industry, so because our owners are also our biggest clients,
they keep a tight rein on us,” he said.
“If we’re making profit, it means
we’re charging our owners too much, so we’ve returned anything that we
would make back into the industry.”
He said woolgrowers relied on
AWTA’s wool tests, as it was almost impossible to trade wool without one.
“An entire test nowadays costs $81,
which is seven cents a kilogram,” he said.
“Around 10 years ago, tests were $69,
so the cost hasn’t really gone up much in that time.”
He said this was an incredible feat,
given the volatility of the market in recent decades.
“From 1992 until last season, we’ve
seen some big drops in the volume of wool, it was sitting at 820 million
kilograms, and now sits at about 250 million kilograms at the moment,” he said.
“So how have we managed, with the
volume of wool declining so significantly, to maintain our fees, when all of
our other operating costs have gone up so much?”
Mr Steere said there were numerous
ways AWTA worked to achieve this.
“There’s lots of innovation, we have
our own research and development department here, that are constantly
coming up with lots of ways to refine the way we’re testing,” he said.
“It has also meant that over the
years, we’ve developed more accurate ways to test.”
Mr Steere said productivity was
“One of our highest operating costs
is labour, so we’ve started introducing robots into the labs,” he said.
“We’ve controlled our costs by using
robots, which has meant we’ve had to make cuts, we used to have three wool
testing labs in Australia, in Melbourne, Sydney, and Fremantle, but we closed
down the Sydney one, and now all wool from the east coast is tested in
He said they have also worked to
diversify the business, so it is not solely reliant on wool testing revenue.
“In the past eight to 10 years, we’ve
branched out and purchased other businesses, so now 30 per cent of our revenue
comes from those businesses,” he said.
WOOL AUCTION RAISES $78,600 FOR RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE
QUALITY Wool’s sixth annual charity wool auction was a “definitesuccess”, raising $78,600 for Ronald McDonald House Westmead this week.
donated 67 bales for auction this year at the Australian Wool Exchange.
Eastern Market Indicator reaching more than 2000c/kg, NSW Quality Wool area
manager Anthony Windus said buyers “bought above and beyond” current market
“It was a
definite success,” he said.
such a great response from buyers, paying more than market prices for the
result brings the total amount raised by Quality Wool for the facility to more
auction: Paul Ferronato, from Victorian Wool Processors, and Anthony Windus,
Quality Wool NSW Manager. Picture: Andy Rogers
said the funds raised will help to support 1,460 families, assisting the new
Ronald McDonald House facility that has the capacity to house 60 families a
“On top of
commitment by our staff to prepare the bales, we would have had over 100 different
growers donate, most of those being Quality Wool clients,” he said.
few of those who donated or helped have used the facility themselves or know
someone who has, and know how difficult finding accommodation can be when
you’re from the bush.”
Ferronato from Victorian Wool Processors purchased 22 bales at the auction, for
a top price of $1030.
buying for the Korean market,” Mr Ferronato said.
bought will predominantly be used in the Korean wool sector for ladies
outerwear, jackets and winter school dresses.”
Ferronato said the result was “sensational”, with great support from the
industry as a whole.
McDonald cause touches very close to home — everyone really gets behind it.
talking about children here and as a father of three, there’s nothing more
important than a young child’s health and wellbeing.”