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Mecardo Blog

Sheepvention – I wouldn’t miss it for quids!

Posted by Robert Herrmann on 31 July 2018

The Sheepvention name captures the remarkable story of a sheep show that has survived where many other regional events have long ago shut up shop.

The P & A Society members who 40 years ago decided to re-invent (and re-name) a dying sheep show by thinking outside the traditional and accepted model are to be applauded.

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Topics: sheep, Wool industry

Is the wool industry short of shearers?

Posted by Robert Herrmann on 22 January 2018

We have noticed a lot more chatter in the past 12 months from wool producers regarding the increased difficulty experienced over the latest shearing – unreliable teams, much later finish to shearing and generally a frustration with organising most important task for the year.

Facts and figures around the shearing industry are difficult to pin down, so let’s start with the anecdotes and comments we are hearing.

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Topics: shearing, Wool industry

Is the Merino stud model fit for the future?

Posted by Robert Herrmann on 6 January 2018

Its many years since stud breeders of jersey bulls, landrace pigs and rhode island red roosters presented their prized stock at the various capital city Royal Shows to assess breeding potential. Today, these industries rely on data & science to identify the best sires to breed for the growing commercial demand for milk, pork and chicken.

Performance recording has replaced show judging.

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Topics: Wool industry, merino

AWI: Learn from the avocado!

Posted by Robert Herrmann on 25 October 2017

A bad news story will trump a positive story every day, and you would have to be living under a rock to have missed the scrutiny AWI have been under in recent times.

AWI have been criticised for a perceived favouritism of ‘subjective’ over ‘objective’ development, and concerns related to potential conflicts of interest.

Perhaps to balance, we should take an objective look at what should be the focus of the wool industry; and expand our idea around the need to innovate to future proof the wool industry.

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Topics: Wool industry, innovation, agtech

Shut the gate, the Merino’s have bolted!

Posted by Robert Herrmann on 19 July 2017

For some time, we have been writing about our concerns for the Merino Wool industry, noting the “fight for acres” to date has been well and truly won by the croppers. To top it off, the number of ewes now mated to terminal sires has also been growing. It hurts an old shearer/wool classer/wool broker/wool market watcher to see properties that for over a hundred years proudly produced Merino wool, jump ship and either rip out the fences and plant crops, or purchase terminal rams and get into prime lamb production.

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Topics: Wool industry

To shear or not to shear, is that the question?

Posted by Robert Herrmann on 1 June 2017

For some time, there have been messages from wool processors that much of the Australian wool clip is too long. If this is true then shorter lots should attract a premium – this would be a normal economic lever to attract more of the type, and if that is the case can wool producers justify the additional cost of two shearings in one year?

To get to the bottom of this issue, a full understanding of the situation is needed. It is normal for suppliers (wool growers) to want to meet customer requirements (processors). At the same time, meeting the “new” requirement cannot increase the net costs to the business unless there is an off-setting increase in income.

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Topics: Wool industry, Wool market / wool price

An evolution in sheep shearing

Posted by Robert Herrmann on 8 February 2017

The wool industry relies on the shearer as the first stage in the harvesting and movement of wool to its ultimate market. And while this process has been successfully carried out since sheep first arrived in Australia, it is curious that this harvesting system has progressed little over time. The timeline for the evolution of shearing is slow, interrupted with disputes and false starts.

In this blog we look at one innovation with the potential to take wool harvesting to the next evolutionary level.

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Topics: Wool industry, merino

Let's make merino great again

Posted by Robert Herrmann on 25 January 2017

There are times when you just have to stand up; “it’s now or never”. Coaches espouse the need to win the crucial 3rd quarter, the “break” point in a tennis game, or bowl the “dot” ball at a crucial time of a cricket match. “Sometimes there is no next time, no time-outs, no second chances. Sometimes it’s now or never." The playwright Alan Bennet probably wasn’t talking about the wool industry, but he could have been.

Prices are great but the industry is in decline, how do we learn from other industries to save Merino in Australia. How do we make merino great again?

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Topics: Wool industry, Australian wool industry, merino

How to use "one cancels other" wool orders.

Posted by Matt Dalgleish on 23 May 2016

The purpose of this blog is to explain more about using “one cancels other” or OCO orders on the Riemann wool forward market with a particular focus on the 19 and 21-micron contracts. As part of the blog we will also undertake analysis of the basis between 19 and 21-micron classes to outline the seasonal movement in this basis, including how/why the basis has narrowed over time. 

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Topics: Wool market / wool price, Wool industry

How to deal with animal activists: A lesson from the egg industry

Posted by Robert Herrmann on 20 April 2016

The egg industry is a good example in how to deal with Animal Activists, and perhaps it can provide some ideas for the Australian wool industry around how to respond to the mulesing debate.

The production of cage eggs and the subject of mulesing have been easy targets for the radical activists, however the end result to each industry is starkly different.

When producers are asked, both industries are adamant that their practices (cages and mulesing) are not only humane, but actually improve the welfare of the bird/sheep.

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Topics: Wool industry, Australian wool industry, animal rights

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