Australia rode on the sheeps back in the 50’s, but in the 70’s & 80’s the sheep turned nasty, and we mostly got off, having lost our pricing power through the competitive growth of synthetics, and strategic stupidity.
When we dismounted, looking for an easier way, superfine wool was 19 microns, now, the leading edge of the few that left are approaching 11 microns, and there is now a substantial volume of wool in the 15-17 microns range, an astonishing achievement.
When Australia unwittingly “outsourced” the many processing stages in the wool value chain, largely to China and India, it was driven by the commodity pricing mentality, that still widely exists. Now, as we chase our tails to the bottom of the price curve, we are paying the price for that short sightedness, as we have no capability left in any stage of the value chain past —-growing the stuff, to leverage the leading position of the best growers, and to supply markets with a sustainable fibre with deep capabilities to meet and shape consumers needs .
Australian Wool Innovation, the current iteration of successive industry bodies charged with the responsibility to “market” the clip is in disarray again, as they try and treat symptoms they do not understand with medicine that did not work 40 years ago.
There is no point being on the leading research edge, unless you can commercialise the output and generate a return from it by reshaping demand, rather than just taking a small premium because you are marginally better at doing what everyone else does. AWI and its predecessors have done a good research job over the years, bit a very poor marketing job.