Ulster Wool reports that it will be making payments worth £8.4m (€9.94m) to its members for their 2021 wool clip.

The overall average payment of 36.4p/kg is reported as an average increase of 135% compared to 2020 payment levels.

Ulster Wool CEO Andrew Hogley says: “The 135% average increase over the prior year is down to improved auction prices for wool over the last 12 months alongside a push to reduce operational costs.”

Hogley is predicting further recovery in market performance in 2022.

“We are optimistic that the strong demand we have seen over recent months will be sustained, that the recovery in the wool market will continue through 2022, and that this will result in further price improvement for the 2022 wool clip.”

Grade returns are determined by the average auction price over the entire season. Returns for many core grades for 2021 are expected to finish the season at around 40p/kg (47c/kg) and 30p/kg (35.5c/kg) for wool from Scottish Blackface breeds.

The company says that some specialty types such as Bluefaced Leicester will receive higher returns averaging in the region of £5.50/kg (€6.51/kg), while an additional premium of £1/kg (€1.18/kg) is also being paid on “most types of organic certified wool”.

Hogley reports the free haulage offer and other improvements introduced in 2021 will continue in 2022. “This means that members who take wool to any of our drop points will not be charged onward carriage.

“Clips of 2,000kg or more will continue to receive an additional 4p/kg with further incremental increases for those delivering larger volumes.”