Our mission is to drive sustainable demand for British wool in order to maximise returns for our members.

Wool returns stable despite a smaller clip.

Following a reduced wool clip in 2023, wool returns are similar to last year for British Wool members in 2024.

Most core grades are up 1p or 2p per kg, while Mountain grades are slightly lower, with the overall lower wool intake weight impacting the returns.

Jim Robertson, Chairman of British Wool, says: “Prices strengthened in the autumn but have weakened again over the last two months with Mountain wool types struggling all season. British Wool’s auction prices for the season are on a par with New Zealand.

We handled 2,500 tonnes less wool in 2023 primarily due to lighter fleeces. Our typical member delivered 10% less wool in 2023 than in 2022.

The decline in wool volumes reduced our returns by around 7p per kg.  If we had handled the same weight as the previous year, many grades would have been up 20p per fleece.  Every additional 500 tonnes we handle improves returns for all members by 1.5p per kg.”

With plastics positioned as wool’s greatest competitor, low wool prices are an issue globally. 

Jim says: “The rise of oil-based fibres over recent decades has driven down the value of wool.  The world is however now starting to wake up to the environmental damage these fibres cause, and the sustainability credentials of wool.”

New income streams are making a growing contribution towards members’ payments. The traceability scheme generated £150,000, while grading for the Isle of Man and other initiatives also boosted returns.

Jim said: “More brands are specifying British wool.  We now have 153 licensees producing a wide range of products from our wool.  Driving demand for British wool is essential if we are to differentiate our clip from the commodity market.”

We have also been successful in broadening the bench of buyers in the auction over the past few years.  This has led to much more competitive auctions.

We are committed to creating long-term value for sheep farmers.  Sheep farmers can be a stronger force by supporting British Wool together.  We understand the recent wool prices have been disappointed to many, including ourselves,” said Jim.

“But with the initiatives we have in place, from traceability to our consumer marketing activity and our licensing scheme, we truly believe that the long-term outlook is encouraging. As such, we urge sheep farmers to continue supporting us as we continue to navigate these difficult times. Working together, we can build a positive future for wool.”

Back to Press Releases
Wool returns stable despite a smaller clip.