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Jerilderie wool grower enjoys China industry tour

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April 04, 2018

Jerilderie’s Edith Gregory was part of a group of young wool growers from across Australia that toured China recently to gain a new global perspective of their industry.

Jerilderie’s Edith Gregory was part of a group of young wool growers from across Australia that toured China recently to gain a new global perspective of their industry.

The group visited China’s biggest manufacturers of raw wool and gained a greater understanding of the journey their wool takes once exported.

The self-funded trip organised by Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) involved 12 young people who visited a number of manufacturers within the trade and meet with key AWI/Woolmark staff based in Asia.

Close to 80 per cent of Australia’s raw wool production is exported to China for early stage processing.

Half of this wool is consumed in China at retail, making the Chinese wool processing and retail economy extremely important to Australia’s $3.6 billion wool industry.

The first manufacturer the group visited was an early stage processing operation, Red Sun. Here the wool is scoured and carded through an automated operation.

The group then visited the spinning processing plant To Xinao, where the AWI Development Centre is also located, and the circular knitting mill Mengdi and well-known fabric processing operation Nanshan.

The group also visited the AWI Shanghai office and The Woolmark Wool Resource Centre in Hong Kong.

Edith Gregory — who is studying a VET science degree at Charles Sturt University — said there was plenty to take away from the tour.

‘‘I learnt a lot and I especially enjoyed making new contacts with other young wool growers.

‘‘We found out how the industry works over there and that China is such a big part of the wool industry. It’s not something we think about in Australia.

‘‘China has put a lot of money into the industry and ultimately has a lot more to lose then we do as wool growers; simply because they’ve put so much money into processing and setting up big new plants.

‘‘I don’t believe China is a threat to the Australian industry. There are Merinos in China and most of the sheep there are meat sheep.

‘‘One positive to take away from the tour was Chinese praising Australia as the best wool growers in the world.’’

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