Agricultural commodity products experience marked price trends over time. In the 1980s the balance between returns to growers, before deducting costs, from meat and wool was 46/54. The ratio has now shifted to 83/17. Price increases of the magnitude currently required to redress this imbalance for wool growers may be achievable through genomic technologies. Such technologies could create a demand for biological components extractable from a proportion of the national clip, permit the development of novel fibre types and significantly reduce wool harvesting and husbandry costs. The economic benefits to sheep owners through changing wool characteristics such as fibre diameter or crimp are limited by existing high volume, low profit margin value chains. New technologies which improve wool characteristics and value should be complemented where possible by direct supply relationships between producers and end-users in order to justify their development and to sustain price premiums.

RMW, Sumner, and RM Davison

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 66, Napier, 149-154, 2006
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