Home' Yarram Standard : February 1st 2017 Contents “THE YARRAM STANDARD” Wednesday, February 1, 2017 - PAG E 3
WOOL growers are experiencing the
best conditions in decades as prices
surge to record highs on the back of a
solid increase in demand in China and
Hunterston wool producer Neil Collins
is happy to see the prices up.
Mr Collins said he is pleased superfine wool
prices have shown recent improvement.
“The chairman of Australian Wool Innovation
Walter Merriman said he is confident the price for
superfine wool will remain elevated.”
Supply and demand has been credited for
causing the lift in prices, thanks largely to Chi-
na’s recent interest in fine merino wool.
Mr Collins said he traditionally aims to sell
his wool on one market, usually the Italian trade.
“If specifications are right, the Italian trade
usually pays more. It goes into worsted yarn and
is made into men’s suits and women’s high fash-
ion,” he said.
“Since China started to target superfine wool,
it is buying around 75 percent of the market,
which is pushing prices up.”
Mr Collins said he sold some wool when pric-
es hit the peak around a fortnight ago.
“It was 16.5 micron, 40 newton weaner wool.
It is hard to get superfine wool at those specifica-
tions, I don’t think I have ever had it as high as
that,” he said.
“I expected New England Wool to buy it, as
it was grown for its sustainable accreditation
scheme. I was rather surprised to find a Chinese
company had bought it.
“I was stunned actually.”
Mr Collins runs 4000 merino sheep on his 700
hectare property and said he is looking to build
up his numbers and increase wool production.
He said in order to grow high quality super-
fine wool, the sheep need to be on an even feed
ration year round, as they are quite sensitive to
“If you change their diet, it can be signifi-
cant enough to give them a check in their wool.
Because everything is measured, checks can be
picked up quite easily,” he said.
“They can actually tell what month of the year
there was a problem.”
Mr Collins said wool quality varies with
the season, but last year ’s clip averaged 16.2
He said a lot of wool producers are steering
away from superfine wool, because prices have
been so low.
“Superfine wool prices have not been cover-
ing the cost of production for over 10 years now,
so producers have been bulking up their wool
with cross breeding,” he said.
“Crossbreds cut more wool and there is not a
lot of difference between superfine and broader
micron wool prices. We battle to cut four or five
kilograms of wool per sheep, where crossbreds
would cut around eight.”
Mr Collins said his farm has been producing
superfine wool for over 60 years and he plans to
keep the tradition going.
He said while growing sheep is different to
cattle, last season for his farm was equally as
“We spent $50,000 supplementary feeding
the sheep last year between January and June,”
“Then we had rain and we haven’t had to feed
this so far this season, it has been wonderful.”
Mr Collins said on the whole, input costs
should be down this year, which coupled with a
decent price for his wool is welcomed.
“We have still got the majority of our clip in
Melbourne, which should be auctioned in mid to
late February,” he said.
Good to see: Hunterston superfine wool pro-
ducer Neil Collins was pleased to see prices
for superfine wool lift in recent weeks.
Wool prices at record highs
(YDHS) chief executive officer said, “We have re-
cently signed a contract with a doctor from South
Africa who is now completing the processes re-
quired to be able to practise in Australia.”
Ms Boag anticipates this process will take up
to 12 weeks after approval from the Royal Aus-
tralian College of General Practice at which time
Yarram Medical Centre will have a full time GP
who will provide services at the hospital.
Ms Boag said while this is all good news
for the YDHS, her Board with the assistance of
the newly formed Medical Workforce advisory
group will remain on the front foot to recruit full
time GP’s to the Yarram District and retain their
services for the long term.
The YDHS has called for expressions of
interest for its Medical Workforce Advisory
The Medical Workforce Advisory Group is
a special interest group established through the
YDHS Consumer Partnership Committee and is
designed to assist the YDHS Board and Execu-
tive in the recruitment, support and retention of
Ms Boag is hoping the group will consist of
at least six community members.
“We have already had some expressions
of interest, the closure date is February 5, The
Board has a meeting on February 8 at which time
arrangements for the first meeting of the group
will be made,” Ms Boag said.
“We have posted the terms of reference on
the health service website, these terms of refer-
ence are a guide and will be up for discussion at
the group’s first meeting, I am sure there will be
some debate over the terms which is fine, once
they are passed we can move on to the business
Ms Boag said one of the first items on the
agenda will be explaining to the group, the
Australian medical workforce system which is
complex. “But they (medical workforce system)
needs to ensure safe patient care,” she said.
“At present what is apparent to the general
public is the fact we do not have enough GPs
here and the affects this has on community.
“It is about our processes being transparent.
“National Party Member for Gippsland Dan-
ny O’Brien has agreed to chair our first meeting
which I am hoping will be around the middle to
As well as the Medical Workforce Advisory
Group, YDHS has been working with a consul-
tant to develop a contemporary business model
for the Yarram Medical Centre.
“In response to community/workforce needs
the Yarram Medical Centre has worked un-
der many business arrangements since the late
1980’s after the building was refurbished by
the health service and leased to doctors Testro
and Hill who run the medical centre as a private
practice,” Ms Boag said.
“Much later in 1999 Dr Testro approached
YDHS requesting we manage the medical centre.
“YDHS worked in partnership with Dr Tes-
tro and over time YDHS has been, the landlord,
a business partner, an employer of GP’s and now
holds fixed term contracts with doctors who
practice at the medical centre and are visiting
medical officers at the health service.”
Brighter outlook for hospital
Looking up: Yarram District Health Service CEO
Colleen Boag is looking forward to the formation
of the Medical Workforce Advisory Group, wel-
coming a new doctor and working with consul-
tants to develop a business plan for the medical
YARRAM will welcome a new doctor to the
town in the coming months.
Colleen Boag Yarram and District Health Service
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