Wool prices remain very much on a par with last year as continued uncertainty over Brexit has not only affected livestock and cereal prices, but also consumer confidence and the demand for carpet wool.

However, despite the unpredictability, British wool sold through the British Wool Marketing Board has sold at a premium compared to their UK competitors and those in New Zealand.

Figures from the BWMB's latest wool pricing schedule for 2019, show Texel/Lleyn, Mule, Cheviot and Blackface wool were 8%, 7%, 47% and 13% higher respectively last year, when selling through the board compared to rival competitors.

“The prices we offer have been consistently higher for a number of years, and early indications from 2019 indicate this gap will increase even further over the coming season," said Trevor Richards, chairman of BWMB.

"We’re working on many new initiatives to maximise the value of producers’ wool.”

This includes a new multi-channel end customer (consumer and commercial) marketing strategy which has gained real traction during the past 12 months with the implementation of a new brand licensing scheme.

British wool also performed well against New Zealand.

"Historically our wool has sold at a 20% discount against New Zealand, but our prices were consistently higher during 2018."

Mr Richards believes this success is due in part to a more strategic approach at auctions and the launch of an agency buyer in July 2018, making it easier for new buyers to access the auction.

“This initiative is already starting to have a material impact on competition in the auction room, which should help support our prices moving forward.

Another significant and exciting development is the opening of a new office in Shanghai, targeting the largest and fastest growing middle class consumer market in the world.

Mr Richards added that the board was able to hold it's market share in 2018 – despite the poor spring and the fall in the national ewe flock – and that an increased clip is expected this year with more than 350 new entrants selling their wool to the board. Carryover stocks from the 2018 clip stand at 800tonnes, which is in line with previous years,

BWMB prices for the 2019 wool clip are as follows: £0.60p per kg for Suffolk; £0.75/kg for Romney; £0.66 for Texel/Lleyn; £0.67 Mule; £0.92 Cheviot; £0.30 Welsh; £0.56 Radnor; £0.30 Swaledale and £0.45 Blackface.