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Wool Stocktake : AWI Annual Report 2016-17
• AWI continues its involvement in sectoral and cross-sectoral national RD&E strategies – see page 56. Major developments during 2016/17 included a review and update of the National Animal Welfare RD&E Strategy which was submitted to the Agriculture Senior Officials Committee (AGSOC) Research & Innovation (R&I) Committee for endorsement in June. It was also agreed that the National Animal Biosecurity RD&E Strategy required updating and this will be undertaken in the latter half of 2017. • Under the National Animal Welfare RD&E Strategy AWI contributed to an audit of animal welfare research capability and the development of a toolkit for use by woolgrowers in the event of an animal welfare crisis. The toolkit is designed to assist woolgrowers in identifying and preparing for possible future animal welfare crisis situations and developing actions, including contingency plans, that can be integrated into property management processes. • The Australian Veterinary Association auditors (Dr Bruce Allworth and Dr David Hucker) review the Breech Strike RD&E program on a six-monthly basis and concluded: “AWI continues to invest in research aimed at decreasing breech strike and specifically to decrease the reliance of wool producers on mulesing. This work, while initially aimed at ‘solving’ the mulesing issue, has resulted in and continues to support much broader sheep welfare outcomes. AWI has publicised the applicable on-farm research findings in its various publications and website, ensuring increased grower awareness of research outcomes, particularly in relation to pain relief developments and longer term breeding solutions. AWI conducted its Animal Welfare Forum meeting with key Animal Welfare lobby groups. It continues to be an important process for two way engagement and improved understanding regarding this complex animal welfare issue.” • The Genetic Reviewers for the Breech Strike RD&E program (Dr Peter James and Dr Forbes Brien) review the program on an annual basis and in summary concluded: “We commend the considerable effort that has been expended to date to develop improved methods for selecting breech strike resistance, adapting these to practical recommendations for woolgrowers and in ensuring the information is readily available to wool producers, ram breeders and other industry stakeholders. It is important to continue providing information in an open and transparent manner including realistic assessments to all stakeholders of the likely time necessary to genetically change Australian sheep flocks to a point where surgical mulesing and undue reliance on chemical treatments is unnecessary. The initiation of the AWI animal welfare advocacy project to facilitate communication with ram breeders, commercial woolgrowers, state governments and welfare groups is an important recent innovation in this area.” VERTEBRATE PESTS INVESTMENT FOCUS • Coordination of effective and efficient use of appropriate vertebrate pest control techniques across all land tenures. • Direct assistance to community based vertebrate pest control programs, to overcome emergency pest animal challenges and lay secure foundations for sustainable long-term future pest animal control programs. • Research into and development of new and emerging technologies which will enhance producers' abilities to detect, deter and/or destroy vertebrate pest challenges to their enterprises. • Development of producer and service sector capacity through training to control vertebrate pests. STRATEGIC TARGETS Targets for three-year period 2016/17 to 2018/19 Progress during 2016/17 1. Effective national and regional coordination of vertebrate pest control effort in sheep producing areas. On target. All funded coordinators are in place and achieving significant improvements in coordination, coverage and scale of wild dog control activities. 2. 15 new community based vertebrate pest control groups established each year, bringing to a total of 150 groups supported by the end of 2018/19, with the value of avoided stock loss (sheep) greater than costs to woolgrowers and AWI combined. Achieved and exceeded for 2016/17. 21 groups were established in 2016/17, with the total number of past and current groups now reaching 160. Surveys of groups completing programs show planned or anticipated: • 12% increase in sheep numbers • 24% increase in kg of wool produced. 3. National release of RHDV K5, and successful development of RHDV strains of enhanced virulence. On target. The planned release of RHDV1 K5 took place in March 2017. It was released at almost 600 sites across Australia; an initial reduction of 42% in wild rabbit numbers has been recorded at sites where the virus was released (the forecast reduction was 10-40%). REPORT OF 2016/17 OPERATIONS – SHEEP PRODUCTION 25
AWI Annual Report 2015-16