DISAPPOINTMENT has been voiced by the National Sheep Association (NSA) about the drastic cut in wool prices for this year, as a third of of wool stocks remain unsold.

A spokesperson for British Wool said: "As British Wool enters its 70th year of operation, the UK, and indeed the world, faces the most severe recession in its history due to the Covid-19 epidemic.

"The global market for crossbred wool has been shut since February and remains closed. February to May is normally the busiest selling period of the year. As a result, we have about nine million kilogrammes of unsold stock out of a total 2019-20 clip of 27 million kilogrammes.

"Given the situation we find ourselves in, we have had to place a value on this unsold stock, which is at a significant discount to the last prices sold."

The average price paid to producers for the 2019-20 clip will be 32 pence per kilogramme. Balances are being paid as normal upon receipt of this season’s wool. This is an average price for all wool grades in the UK, with some mountain wools achieving 15p/kg and some finer white wools more than 70p/kg.

The National Sheep Association (NSA) is disappointed to see the impact of Covid-19 on wool prices.

NSA chief executive Phil Stocker said: “It’s not fully clear how the reduced value of the remainder of the 2019-20 clip will affect the overall value of a farmers wool delivered last year, but it would be easy to assume total fleece values might be down by 50 per cent.

"Cash flows will be affected, and many farmers will be faced with a bill from their shearing contractors but with no income to offset that. Although there are plenty of sheep farmers who do get real value from their wool most will at least expect it to cover shearing and wool handling costs. A fall of 50 per cent of total value would, for most, mean total income not clearing costs.”

“NSA is very disappointed although we understand fully the reasons behind this situation. A lot of work has gone into increasing demand and values for wool and this will set things back. We are disappointed that British Wool, being treated as a Government Arm’s Length Body, has reportedly been unable to access the Government's Covid-19 support schemes and this will have had a big bearing on British Wool’s decisions.”