BILLINGS – American wool is in high demand in the United States and around the world and it is good news for this region’s sheep producers.
“The market is at a record high,” said Scott Lammers, manager of the Center of the Nation Wool warehouse in Billings. “I’ve been here 20 years and we’ve seen similar prices once before.”
Center of the Nation Wool buys most of the wool in Montana, Wyoming, and South Dakota. Lammers said it’s been an incredible year for sheep producers with record high wool prices.
“The wool market started last summer after the summer break and a rally started and it’s continued ever since. Going into this spring, the market hasn’t seen a negative day and that’s been good news for producers," said Lammers. "It’s been a refreshing experience for everyone including us to finally see producers finally being rewarded for the good wool they produce out of Montana, Wyoming and surrounding states.”
He added that U.S. wool prices are based on the Australian wool market.
“Weekly there are still sales in Australia,” said Lammers. “It appears the Chinese companies are really pushing hard on that market and competing over wools. In effect, it’s driving up prices around the world. Everybody has to compete with what’s going on in Australia.”
Demand for high quality wool products is also helping to drive the wool market higher.
“I think that retail levels for fine wool socks, next to skin wear and all the outdoors wear is coming on strong and driving that market,” said Lammers.
The higher wool market is long overdue and some very good news for sheep producers.
“I think most people out there would agree they’ve never seen prices as high as they are this year,” said Lammers. “It’s welcomed by everybody. It’s going to help producers and hopefully we’re going to see it spark some interest and get some more people back into sheep.”
He said woolgrowers in our region take pride in raising some of the highest quality and fine wool.
“It’s good quality. It’s clean. The wools that we have, people really take good care, there’s good preparation. The wools are long and strong.”
For woolgrowers and shearing crews who want their wool clip to still bring top dollar during these times of record high wool prices, there are a few things they can do. Most importantly, they need to deliver a clean, non-contaminated wool clip that’s bright white that’s 23-micron or finer.
Wool industry leaders are hopeful the wool market has reached a new level and that demand remains strong for U.S. wool so these record prices can continue in the future.