A FALL in fashion retail sales has caused wool prices to drop, with some south-west farmers now stockpiling bales.
Fox and Lillie Warrnambool area wool representative Chris Bull said the coronavirus had a "massive impact on wool prices".
"Wool was in decline before the coronavirus started as well so we have gotten a bit of a double blow here," Mr Bull said.
But he said his Warrnambool growers were fortunate their other commodities were "still doing pretty well" to counter the fall in demand for wool.
"A lot of the merino wool growers produce mutton and lamb as well, having a higher meat price has carried the burden a fair way," Mr Bull said.
Nutrien Hamilton wool area manager Kevin Beaton said wool prices had dropped about 40 per cent in the past 12 months.
"It's very difficult to move any retail product when the shops aren't open," Mr Beaton said.
"A lot of people have had good livestock sales and they are sitting on their wool and waiting, maybe it will take a while until it comes right.
"My clients' stockpile of wool is definitely the most it has been in say the last seven years."
He said between 75 and 80 per cent of Australia's wool went to China.
Susan Finnigan and her family have about 10,000 merino sheep on their Winslow farm Kia Ora Merino.
Ms Finnigan said the farm was "lucky" it had forward contracted wool but she was aware of "huge disruption in the supply chains" in China and Europe.
"There will be wool growers who will feel a lot of pain and there may be less at the end of this," she said.
She said the farm would weather the drop in prices.
"It is a price decrease, we are still viable at that price but it's not where you want it to stay for long," Ms Finnigan said.
She said many farmers considered themselves lucky during the coronavirus compared to industries that shut down.
"We are very lucky as farmers, because we are able to go to work," Ms Finnigan said.
"As far as the bigger picture. We have nothing to whinge about compared to other businesses.
"I think in the long-term wool will be more desirable, it's quality that lasts a long time. If people are buying less hopefully they buy better quality."
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