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Wool Stocktake : AWI Annual Report 2017-18
Buccalgesic® being applied to the internal cheek of a lamb during the research trials. The buccal (inside of cheek) formulation has a thick consistency so after application (using a modified drench gun) it adheres to the mucous membrane of the mouth. observations), and up to 24 hours (based on physiological parameters) post-mulesing. The best outcome was seen where TriSolfen® and Buccalgesic® were used in combination, delivering the benefits of both local anaesthetic and non- steroidal anti-inflammatory agents. • In October 2017, using data generated from the above research, the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agent Buccalgesic® was approved by the APVMA for mulesing, following its registration for castration and tail docking in lambs in 2016. In addition, the 30-minute wait between application and procedure was removed so Buccalgesic® can now be used immediately before the procedure. There are now three pain relief products available to woolgrowers for routine surgical procedures. • Animal trials for metabolism and tissue residue deletion studies for common local anaesthetic pain relief actives were undertaken in 2017/18. An analysis of the data from this work is due to be completed in late 2018 and will be used in applications to the APVMA to assist with potentially broadening the use options and reducing withholding periods for the current approved actives. • A workshop with animal welfare researchers and veterinarians was held in 2018, to plan a review of pain alleviation research. The project will provide a stocktake of published research into the welfare impacts of castration, tail docking and mulesing, alternatives to these procedures, and potential pain relief strategies. A report including a gap analysis and recommendations as to future research directions is due to be completed in late 2019. BREECH MODIFICATION ALTERNATIVES • Trials to assess the animal welfare impact of the breech modification technology Liquid Nitrogen Process (LNP), completed in early 2018, failed to identify a significant pain relief advantage of LNP over surgical mulesing. BREEDING AND SELECTION • In 2015, a series of predictions were made of rates of genetic improvement achievable for reducing the incidence of breech flystrike in Merino sheep. A project has commenced recently to update these predictions using more recent genetic parameters. The genetic predictions will allow for an assessment of how long selection should take to produce sheep that have high resistance to breech flystrike and do not need mulesing in a range of different sheep types (fine, medium and dual purpose), environments and production systems. • A project to complete the genotyping of the breech flystrike resource flocks in NSW and WA commenced recently. Outcomes are expected to form the largest known reference population for breech flystrike resistance. The genome-wide association study for breech flystrike resistance and indicator traits on the full data set of the NSW- and WA-based study population will contribute to determining pathways for further genetic evaluation research in breech flystrike for sheep, enabling testing for possible associations between genome regions and/or DNA markers and trait data. • A workshop was held to plan a 2018/19 review of flystrike risk factors, with particular reference to unexplained variation between sheep in susceptibility to flystrike and the potential for using odour-related measures in selecting more flystrike resistant sheep. A key outcome of the review, being undertaken by a team of expert consultants, will be the formulation of recommendations for further investment in key areas of research towards new and more effective means of flystrike control in sheep. SHEEP BLOWFLY GENETICS • Continued work on the sheep blowfly genome is providing greater knowledge of the biology of the sheep blowfly (L. cuprina) during host seeking and parasitism, enhancing the ability of researchers to identify sheep blowfly genes critical to its development. • Early results are proving promising in a project to investigate the use of the gene editing tool CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) to manipulate sheep blowfly genes. If successful, CRISPR will enable researchers to better understand the importance of unique blowfly genes and determine the effect on the sheep blowfly if their function is lost or disrupted. The work may result in the development of new treatments or vaccines to aid in sheep blowfly control, reducing the risk of flystrike. COMMUNICATIONS • A number of publications for woolgrowers on breech flystrike management were produced and subsequently made available on the AWI website in 2017/18 – see www.wool.com/flystrikelatest. An updated Breech Flystrike Manual, finalised in June 2017, contains information designed to help woolgrowers reduce their flock’s flystrike risk, develop an effective control plan and eventually move to a non-mules wool-growing enterprise. A presentation, describing the breadth of the AWI Breech Strike RD&E Program, was published in November 2017. In March 2018, a report outlining key learnings from a number of wool-growing enterprises that have moved to a non-mulesed enterprise was finalised. The report is intended to assist other woolgrowers in their consideration and planning to also move to a non-mulesed Merino enterprise. 26 REPORT OF 2017/18 OPERATIONS – SHEEP PRODUCTION
AWI Annual Report 2016-17