Comment: Wool has so much potential yet we do not seem to be making any progress, writes Federated Farmers Bay of Plenty Meat & Wool Chairman Brent Mountfort.
Many of the issues farmers in the Bay were facing last year are still exactly the same a year on.
Wool is still in the doldrums. Beef and lamb/mutton returns in the main are still good.
Plenty of regulations and uncertainty surrounding these different regulations are ongoing. Most meat and wool farmers will most probably agree this past season has had its challenges due to the lack of rain at different stages of the year.
Eastern areas experienced drier than normal pre-Christmas conditions, but had better late summer moisture.
Read more from Federated Farmers here.
The Western Bay started off with too much rain and ended with a drought, which for some is still ongoing and of a concern.
Trying to fatten up livestock has been a challenge for many. There are many farmers who are heading into winter with less pasture than they would desire.
This last year has seen wool growers' net returns drop to most probably the lowest ever. Many are shearing at just break-even or at a loss.
Wool has so much potential yet we do not seem to be making any progress.
As farmers, we have to consider how we can make a difference. There is plenty of research and development going on in the wool area, but there is a lack of real investment from farmers.
Do we sit and wait for someone else to fix things for us or do we front up with cash to help?
The Wool Industry Working Group that Agriculture and Rural Communities Minister Damien O'Connor has put together, which has Federated Farmers Meat & Wool Chairperson Miles Anderson on the committee, is a great start.
I hope that we will see a meaningful strategy for wool moving forward which farmers can have confidence in and can support.