17 February 2000


Rural & Business Media; Farm Pages



Farmers making money from Woolnet

(580 words)

Most farmer offerings on Woolnet, the new internet-based wool trading system, are being sold within a few days of listing, says managing director Lance Wiggins.

The system, which went commercial in December and has been operating in ‘hands-free’ mode since mid-January, allows farmers to sell their wool direct to competing mills and exporters.

"Farmer sellers are getting prices at least as good as the auction, plus they are saving 10c or more a kg on their selling charges," Mr Wiggins says.

"Some farmers are pocketing an extra $500 on 20 bales, through to $2700 on 100-bale lines. That’s just from cost savings in the selling process.

"In addition, Woolnet offers efficiencies in the supply chain from farm to scour or ship, which is why buyers can afford to be very competitive with their prices."

WoolPro, the company which owns Woolnet, is now setting up a sales network throughout both islands, involving service providers -- such as brokers, merchants, scours and dump stores -- and farmer enthusiasts.

"Farmers know Woolnet is out there, but we need to motivate them to examine selling practices and attitudes which sometimes go back generations.

"Woolnet puts the farmer in charge of the selling decision, but many farmers want someone else to do the ‘hands-on’, or to set them up on the internet.

"Service providers who have coring, sampling and aggregating facilities in rural towns are making this happen."



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Mr Wiggins is pleased with the response to date, given that the system didn’t go commercial until just before the holiday break.

"The fact is that Woolnet is now really humming. If wool is weighed, cored and sitting in a service provider’s store, it is being snapped up almost as soon as it goes on the system."

He strongly encourages farmers with wool to sell to make the change.

"Woolnet offers proven advantages to growers and from our point of view, we want to get a critical mass of wool onto the system.

"There are no downsides. It costs farmers nothing to offer on Woolnet – modest charges apply only when the wool is sold."


Mr Wiggins says WoolPro is committed to further development of Woolnet, but he wants buyers and sellers to become familiar with the do’s and don’ts of e-commerce first.

"Farmers in particular need to remember that buyers are customers. That in every successful deal there are two winners – the seller and the buyer.

"It’s also very important for sellers to get their wool cored, tested and appraised. It doesn’t cost a lot, but it makes a huge difference to the saleability of the wool."

As for buyers, Mr Wiggins advises them to make sure their offers are realistic. When farmers receive several offers, they will tend to pick the best one – there’s no second chance for buyers who want to start at the bottom and work up.

"I also emphasise to buyers that most farmers using Woolnet want feedback about their wool. Better communication between buyer and seller is one of the reasons Woolnet was established."

Woolnet’s website can be found at www.woolnet.co.nz. For queries, including the names of service providers in your area, ring freephone 0800 4 WOOLNET (0800 496 656) or e-mail info@woolnet.co.nz.



For more information, please ring Lance Wiggins

Tel 04 471 4670, or 025 420 044