Meet the Dumfries and Galloway farmer dealing with low wool prices
Wool prices are starting to recover after a difficult 18 months due to the pandemic, with farmers saying the money they're making from sheep fleeces at the moment is leaving them struggling to break even.
In Castle Douglas, in Dumfries and Galloway, it takes farmers Marcus and Kate Maxwell half a week to shear their flock of three and a half thousand sheep.
Fleeces from those animals are turned into everything from jackets to hats and rugs but the money they're making at the moment just isn't enough.
Marcus Maxwell, a Castle Douglas farmer, said:
British wool prices are now at the highest they have been since lockdown but they are still not strong enough for most sheep farmers to keep going. Farmers across Dumfries and Galloway also don't want to go back to the situation they were in over the last 18 months having to shear sheep and then burn or bury the wool, with prices then too low to make it worthwhile to sell.Andrew Hogley, the chief executive of industry group British Wool, said: "We need to see the hospitality sector spending money refurbishing hotels, cruise ships putting fresh carpet out when they are sailing again, that will make a big difference"According to the UK Farmer's Guide, current wool prices are now 35 per cent higher than they were at the beginning of 2021.Mr Hogley added: "An example would be Headland Carpets, the biggest flooring distributor in the UK, they for the first time in the UK, have launched a 100 per cent British wool carpet."Many Scottish sheep farmers are hoping to break even next year with costs also increasing for electricity and haulage.Mr Maxwell said: