Courier Mail, The (Brisbane), 20/05/2004, pg. 6

THE world’s largest wool manufacturer went down to the farm yesterday to visit the shed where Inglewood brothers Bim and Rick Goodrich created the most expensive bale of wool.

Buyer Heng Yuan Xiang Group paid $675,000 on March 12 for a 90kg bale of 11.9 micron Primerino wool cut from about 150 sheep at the Inglewood property Terrica, 250km southwest of Brisbane.

On seeing the fine white fleece shorn from one of the small-framed Saxon ewes, Heng Yuan Xiang board member Yuan Naizhong said he had not seen a better sheep.

“How much of this wool can you produce?” Mr Yuan asked, describing the sheep as the best in the world.

Through an interpreter, Mr Yuan said HYX Group would buy more ultra fine wool as its reputation as a manufacturer of fine textiles grows.

The HYX Group operates more than 70 processing plants throughout China and employs more than 40,000 people, processing a 10th of the global wool clip.

So it was with a sense of awe that Bim and Rick Goodrich received gifts from their Chinese customers of gold-plated sheep emblems, ties and a boxed set of wool skeins which retail for $400,000 a kilogram.

“The finest wool belongs to you but the finest knitting yarn belongs to Heng Yuan Xiang,” Mr Yuan told them at an informal press conference in the back yard of the Terrica homestead.

Mr Yuan invited the Goodriches to go to Shanghai next month to help China celebrate the purchase of the world’s softest wool.

For China, the purchase has captured global media exposure and HYX has capitalised on it by bringing media representatives on an Australian tour of wool-growing and selling enterprises.

A team of Chinese researchers is working on how best to process the bale of wool and design garments which will capture the haute couture market, with a suit likely to retail for around $50,000.

Copyright 2004 / Courier Mail