Private Treaty Member News Articles

China visit provides insights for woolgrowers

Zach Relph - Countryman
Thursday, 6 June 2019 10:54AM

A Perth wool merchant and a group of woolgrowers are visiting China to gain insight into the country’s wool processing industry.

Peter Scanlan, founder of Peter Scanlan Wools, and director Steve Noa landed in Shanghai on Sunday with 25 woolgrowers from across WA for an 18-day tour of China.

The party toured wool trader Chargeurs Luxury Materials’ facility in Zhangjiagang on Monday to see its high-class production process renowned for delivering soft and resilient wool fibres.

CLM runs combing mills to ensure the highest wool grades are passed twice through a series of finer and finer combs.

The process eliminates fibres less than 45mm, referred to as noils, and lengthens longer fibres to produce “tops or slivers”.

On Tuesday, the group visited Tianyu Wool Industry’s operation in Zhangjiagang to view its wool scouring and wool topping enterprise.

TWI, which boasts an annual wool-scouring output of 80,000 tonnes and is known for its premier production equipment and high-tech products.

The group also toured Jiangsu Lianhong Textiles in Zhangjiagang yesterday and was scheduled to travel to Tongxiang today.

The woolgrowers will arrive back in Perth on June 20.






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 different garments.

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 this.”

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


30 Oct, 2018
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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







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 Perth.

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

Bob Garnant


Tuesday, 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 remaining bullish.

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 Basire.

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 said.

“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 ahead.

“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 said.

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 manager.”

Mr Basire said Spearwood Wool handled about 20,000 bales a year and had an extensive grower contact list of more than 400.

“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.


Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) WA community engagement manager Suzette Pritchard (left), buyer Russell Fraser, representing TechWool Australia, Dyson Jones office manager Marlene Perer and Dyson Jones WA wool trading manager John Stothard at the presentation of a $4192.40 cheque donated to the RFDS by Dyson Jones/Australian Wool Network from the sale of two bales at last week's Fremantle wool

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.


Wool oddments, dags to help send students to Canberra

29 Jun 2018


WESTCOAST Wool & 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.

Westcoast Wool & 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.

Brenton said 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 Sally Thomson.

“We are hoping that if it is successful, then it can be ongoing to help raise funds for any future P&C events.          

“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,’’ she said.

“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.”

For more information on how to get involved, farmers can contact Brenton Tynan on 0459 222 318 or Sally Thomson on 0409 372 440.







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 three decades?

This is the question Australian Wool Testing Authority (AWTA) Eastern Australia sampling operations manager Tim Steere attempted to answer at a woolgrowers evening at Goornong.

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 another focus.

“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 Melbourne.”

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.







QUALITY Wool’s sixth annual charity wool auction was a “definitesuccess”, raising $78,600 for Ronald McDonald House Westmead this week.

NSW Growers donated 67 bales for auction this year at the Australian Wool Exchange.

With the Eastern Market Indicator reaching more than 2000c/kg, NSW Quality Wool area manager Anthony Windus said buyers “bought above and beyond” current market prices.

“It was a definite success,” he said.

“We had such a great response from buyers, paying more than market prices for the wool.”

This year’s result brings the total amount raised by Quality Wool for the facility to more than $300,000.

Charity auction: Paul Ferronato, from Victorian Wool Processors, and Anthony Windus, Quality Wool NSW Manager. Picture: Andy Rogers

Mr Windus 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 night.

“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.

“Quite a 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.”

Paul Ferronato from Victorian Wool Processors purchased 22 bales at the auction, for a top price of $1030.

“I was buying for the Korean market,” Mr Ferronato said.

“The wool bought will predominantly be used in the Korean wool sector for ladies outerwear, jackets and winter school dresses.”

Mr Ferronato said the result was “sensational”, with great support from the industry as a whole.

“The Ronald McDonald cause touches very close to home — everyone really gets behind it.

We’re talking about children here and as a father of three, there’s nothing more important than a young child’s health and wellbeing.”