MORE than 25 years ago, wool industry stalwart Peter Morgan wanted to drown out the noise of subjective market analysists with no-fuss, objective data.
In the 1990s, far fetching speculations of plummeting production levels following the collapse of the Reserve Price Scheme were being bandied around the industry, which in turn had huge ramifications on the Wool Product Forecasting Committee (WFPC) analysis.
With this commentary out-of-tune with the actual rate of the decline being seen in AWTA testing volumes, Dr Morgan, who is now executive director of Australian Council of Wool Exporters and Processors, initiated a monthly report detailing objective testing statistics which was made available to the wool industry.
“At that stage, the WFPC forecasts relied heavily on broker and private treaty receival and anecdotal data,” Dr Morgan said.
“The broker data, while objective, came from many sources that were not always easily collated.
“The AWTA data came from a single source as a computer generated by-product of the issuing of test results – it reduced a lot of the reliance on subjective anecdotal information.”
The information was christened Australian Wool Testing Authority (AWTA) Key Test Data (KTD), and increasingly people recognise it as important source of objective data about Australian wool production.
Dr Morgan said KTD had provided information on the major changes to the demographics of the industry, including the increase in fine wool production in the mid-1990’s and the decline in medium wool production in the early 2000’s.
It details average test results such as micron, vegetable matter content and staple strength, providing an indicator of seasonal effects on supply, and this week, the Australian Wool testing Authority have modernised the monthly newsletter to an online report.
“It is accepted as the most important source of data about Australian wool production,” Dr Morgan said.
“(The changes) extend the ways the data can be looked at and tailored to meet people’s requirements.”
Users are able to narrow the data down to state level and broad wool categories.
“The report is very comprehensive but the layout had become outdated and, in response to prompting by the National Council of Wool Selling Brokers, AWTA has developed an on-line facility that is more user friendly and accessible than the previous report,” AWTA sampling operations manager Tim Steere said.