Overweight bales sent to warehouses before entering the market are not only costing the wool industry over $1 million annually, but are stretching valuable resources to the limit.
That's according to AWEX Woolclasser Registrar,Fiona Raleigh, who admitted it's often not something on the forefront of producers' minds, but it is an enormous cost to the wool industry in money, time and potential costs.
"Over and underweight bales are estimated to add costs to the wool industry of approximately $1 million nationally every year," Ms Rayleigh said.
"We have overweight bale reports sent to us each week that shows the number of bales that are coming through that need to be adjusted for weight.
"Not only do overweight bales have work health and safety implications, weight adjustments prior to testing cost time and money."
She said weight adjustment costs are typically between $20 and $30 per bale and may be charged to the woolgrower.
"Wool that comes out of an overweight bale will be adjusted. The grower will not be paid the price that they are entitled to because there has to be some cost implemented in re-handling it," Ms Raleigh said.
"When wool isn't in your main line, when it has been adjusted and sent to re-handle, I can honestly tell you that you are losing money, every time."
As a requirement of the Australian wool industry, bales must be under 204 kilograms.
But Ms Raleigh warned not to push the limits to 204 kilograms in sheds because they will very likely be overweight at sampling.
"Make sure your bales are only 190 to 195 kilograms - you will definitely get full dollar for every fleece that you deserve to get," she said.
"Operationally, overweight bales mean core lines are stopped as overweight bales are removed. Delays in allocation to sale and some cases affected lines miss the intended sale."
Australian Wool Handling (AWH) is one of the major wool logistic organisations in Australia.
They perform the warehousing for some of the major brokers which includes collecting the bales, testing, stacking and storing.
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Ms Raleigh said that cost incurred by overweight bales, whether it is absorbed by brokers or whether it is passed onto the growers, it is also a time cost to warehouses.
"We have clips arriving here that are 100 bales overweight, that is 100 grower bales that they take wool out of," she said.
"If they have to handle 100 bales and you wanted your wool sold ASAP, you would potentially miss a sale because they had to repackage the bales - that equates to a lot of money.
"There are a lot of different subtle ways that it is costing the grower, but in the end it will always cost the grower."
Ms Raleigh said there are various reasons why overweight bales are becoming more common, but the simple anecdotal reason she receives is the inaccuracy of scales.
"Some presses are on wheels or on unstable floors, all these different dynamics can make their scales inaccurate," she said.
"But the bales' weights are out by a lot, and we think the drought may be playing a role.
"Because of the lower yielding wool, physically a lot more wool can be put into a bale into a volume wise, but it weighs more."
If AWEX are notified of a re-handle then a letter is sent to the classer, not the woolgrower.
"The classer is AWEX's point of contact," Ms Raleigh said.
"So if there is a wool classer stencil on that bale that means someone is responsible for the bale of wool and we have traceability."
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