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Wool Stocktake : AWI Annual Report 2016-17
Recording the behavioural responses of lambs following the use of pain relief at mulesing in field studies at CSIRO’s Armidale research site. effectiveness of pain relief during LNP were encouraging and researchers recommended that further evaluation of LNP including physiological measures and more intense observation of behaviours are needed in order to fully understand the differing impacts of these procedures. • The development of protocol to undertake metabolism and tissue residue deletion studies for common local anaesthetic pain relief products was finalised in May 2017. Data from the study, expected to be completed by the end of 2017, will be used in applications to the APVMA to assist with the broadening of their use options, including for shearing cuts, and reduce withholding periods for the current approved use of the actives. • A project, completed in late 2016, investigating whether histone deacetylase (HDAC) enzymes in sheep blowfly larvae are a potential new target for insecticides discovered that blocking HDAC enzymes will kill blowfly larvae. The next stage in this work is about to commence to build on this foundation to optimise chemical structures that selectively block the blowfly HDAC enzymes, and kill blowfly larvae, without damaging sheep cells. Pharmaceutical companies are aware of this work, and if successful they will be encouraged to invest in further development of potential new actives for blowfly control. • The breech strike genetics project, undertaken by the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA) and CSIRO and completed in 2016, demonstrated that breeding for breech strike resistant sheep is a feasible and achievable objective although much more difficult for fine wool Merinos. Outcomes from this work included the identification of new breech strike indicator traits such as dags, breech wrinkle and breech cover for woolgrowers to use to breed indirectly for breech strike resistance. Tools to support woolgrowers to breed for these traits have been developed and are available for use. The DAFWA and CSIRO breech strike flocks are being maintained under other projects. Further work is being planned to analyse the data from these flocks for productivity differences between the breech strike resistant and susceptible sheep over their lifetime. • A preliminary project investigating genetic differences in odour compounds secreted by breech strike resistant sheep and susceptible sheep delivered a process to identify compounds attractive to egg laying blowflies. Further blowfly control investment opportunities are being assessed. • Outcomes from a project mapping the sheep blowfly genome has led to further work investigating the prediction of gene mutation in flies that could make them resistant to chemicals. This is a long-term project, which if successful, could result in the development of new vaccines and more robust treatments that may delay the onset of chemical resistance. • If successful, research currently under way into the use of the gene editing tool CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) for the manipulation of sheep blowfly genes will enable researchers to analyse the function of specific genes of interest and engineer changes in the genes, thus aiding future investigation into sheep blowfly control. • Phase 2 of ParaBoss (2016-2020) is under way (with co-funding from MLA). This includes support for the ParaBoss suite of tools, including the on- going development and maintenance of the parasite specific websites (WormBoss, Flyboss and LiceBoss) and related communication material, ensuring content is technically correct and relevant to industry needs. • It is critical the industry has confidence that, in the event of an emergency animal disease (EAD) outbreak, there is a proven effective system in place to rapidly disinfect wool bales and allow safe trading of wool. A project has recently been completed to develop a prototype bale sprayer unit that, during an EAD event, enables the effective disinfection of the outside of wool bales, allowing industry to demonstrate freedom from disease risk for wool bales and facilitate earlier resumption of trade. The next step is to evaluate the unit under field conditions. • The Federation of Australian Wool Organisations (FAWO) with the assistance of AWI has developed a three- year Australian wool industry EAD preparedness RD&E strategy for 2016/17- 2018/19. This strategy is an update of the first such plan, which spanned the preceding three-year period. The Plan aims to minimise disruption to flows of Australian wool to the world’s markets, should an EAD outbreak occur. • A workshop with woolgrowers, stud breeders, peak body members, Research, Development and Extension (RD&E) providers, industry consultants/veterinarians, MLA and Animal Health Australia (AHA) was held in May 2017 to review the strategic direction of the AWI Sheep Health & Welfare program. The workshop was one of a number of consultations with a wide array of stakeholders contributing to an internal review of AWI’s future investment in Sheep Health & Welfare. Outcomes from the consultation process will include an update of the Breech Strike RD&E Program, expected to be completed shortly. 24 REPORT OF 2016/17 OPERATIONS – SHEEP PRODUCTION
AWI Annual Report 2015-16