Kangaroo Island wool producers Alan and Janet Hall achieve highest weekly price in Australia

TOP CLIP: Kangaroo Island wool producers Alan and Janet Hall secured the highest weekly price in Australia for a line of wool sold in auction in mid November. Photo Marty Kay

TOP CLIP: Kangaroo Island wool producers Alan and Janet Hall secured the highest weekly price in Australia for a line of wool sold in auction in mid November. Photo Marty Kay

Alan and Janet Hall of Karkeen at Emu Bay on Kangaroo Island recently achieved the highest weekly price in Australia for a line of wool sold in auction.

The wool sold at Melbourne in the week leading to November 13 measured 15.5 micron (super fine) and yielded a whopping 75 per cent. It fetched 1718 cents a kilogram (greasy).

The wool is destined for the Italian mills where it will be spun into fabric for some of the finest garments on the planet.

Elders district wool manager Marty Kay said the price was a result of many years breeding to achieve a line of such high quality.

"The management practice of not mulesing has given the trade the impetus to bid strongly on the lot as it ticks all the boxes for the Italian market," he said.

"The competition was strong right across the clip, as buyers chased wools with favourable test results.

"It has been a long time since a KI wool has topped the sale nationally and is hopefully as sign of bigger things to come."

Alan and Janet purchased Tony Bell's former property and moved to KI in January 2016 from Hallett in the Mid North.

"We've been breeding this line of wool for the last 18 years trying to get where we've got to today," Alan said.

"It's doubly pleasing given I am approaching 70 and running out of time."

The Halls have been big advocates of animal welfare and not mulesing since 2008.

"I believe it will become mandatory practice," he said.

Regardless, they have a strong ethical approach when it comes to their animals, workers and property, and are accredited for ethical treatment by two audited systems, including Australian Wool Innovation.

This means they can brand their wool with an ethical code and achieve a premium price.

But despite Italian buyers insisting on ethical treatment, only 20 per cent of Australian wool producers are not mulesing, Mr Hall said.

"We've been vindicated for our approach and our efforts are now paying us back," he said.

They currently have a flock of 2400 and hope to increase that by 1000 over the next three years, buying in rams but breeding from their own bloodline of ewes.

Making the move to Kangaroo Island with his flock has been a steep learning curve.

He and his sheep have had to adjust to higher rainfall and different nutrition.

"I've had to learn a whole new set of animal husbandry but we're over that hurdle now and the flock has settled in extremely well," he said.

He wanted to give to credit to Richard Harkness of Superior Wool Merinos at Tintinara.

"I've been working with him for the past three years to lift our wool production," Mr Hall said.

"His progeny has played a big part in our success."

Mr Hall said he also wanted to start doing business with Merino breeders on KI and was able to purchase rams from Andrew Heinrich's Ella Matta Pastoral sale this year.

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