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Wool Stocktake : AWI Annual Report 2017-18
NATIONAL WOOL DECLARATION • National Wool Declarations have increased for all wool in nine years from 38% of the clip in 2008-09 to 66% in 2017-18. • The number of Merino wool bales declared non- mulesed under the National Wool Declaration has grown from 68,632 bales in 2014/15 to 97,489 bales in 2017/18. This represents an increase in percentage non mulesed from 5% to 7.5% of all Merino wool bales. • Merino wool produced from mulesed sheep given pain relief at time of mulesing increased from 292,667 bales in 2014/15 to an estimated 477,232 bales in 2017/18. This represents an increase from 22% to 37% of all Merino bales declared under the National Wool Declaration. EMERGENCY ANIMAL DISEASE PREPAREDNESS • Capacity development in wool industry preparedness and response to an emergency animal disease was identified as a priority in the Australian Wool Industry Emergency Animal Disease (EAD) Preparedness RD&E Strategy 2016- 2019. A training package covering introduction to EADs, the national EAD response structure, biosecurity, workplace health and safety for zoonotic diseases, EAD outbreak operational responses, the role of wool and wool facilities in an EAD outbreak, and reporting and recording during an EAD outbreak, was recently piloted with a number of staff at post-farmgate businesses. An evaluation of the pilot sessions will contribute to the development of an industry plan for the national delivery of the training to other wool enterprises in 2018/19. • The above EAD training resources included a number of documents produced in 2017/2018 to further support wool enterprise preparedness for an EAD. These are an EAD Preparedness Plan Template and Guide and an online Biosecurity Risk Assessment Tool, which are available on the AWI website at www.wool.com/biosecurity. • The ability to provide reliable assurances to exporters, importers and authorities of the status of the wool to be exported will be critical in the lifting of potential export bans following an EAD outbreak. A report on the performance of a prototype bale sprayer unit that will allow rapid disinfection of the outside of wool bales with a citric acid solution, under field conditions, is currently being finalised. Outcomes from the trial will inform the update of the Bale Sprayer Unit Operating Manual and the development of proposed procedures for the deployment of the unit in the event of an outbreak. A prototype bale sprayer that aims to allow rapid disinfection of the outside of wool bales. • An additional research project to investigate the impact of different citric acid solutions on wool fibres, in particular the effect on the wool characteristics used in the sale of wool, including fibre yield, diameter, colour, staple length and strength, was completed in late 2017. The outcome of the testing of 0.2%, 2.0% and 3.0% weight/volume citric acid solutions on measured wool characteristics were that no commercially significant changes were observed on the treated wool samples when compared to the corresponding untreated control wools, providing reassurance to exporters that the quality of wool in bales that require external decontamination by the bale sprayer in the event of an EAD outbreak will not be impacted. • A trial to trace wool bale movement and environmental storage conditions (ie time, humidity and temperature) using a Bluetooth beacon is currently being piloted within an existing wool supply chain. In the event of EAD, the information being captured will enable industry to provide assurances that the wool in the bales has been exposed to sufficient environmental storage conditions to render a specific virus inactive. As the data starts coming in, the project will also develop a user interface, and assess the feasibility of such a system and its requirements if scaled up for wider adoption. NATIONAL RD&E STRATEGIES • AWI continues its involvement in sectoral and cross sectoral national RD&E Strategies. The National Primary Industries Animal Welfare RD&E Strategy, revised in May 2017, aims to facilitate the development, implementation and delivery of cross-sectoral animal welfare RD&E nationally for livestock throughout the supply chain. • AWI is represented on the Writing Group charged with reviewing and updating the National Primary Industries Animal Biosecurity RD&E Strategy. The updated Strategy is expected to be submitted for endorsement by the National Primary Industries Research and Innovation Committee in August 2018. PROGRAM AUDITS • The AWI Breech Flystrike RD&E Program is independently audited by the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) on a six-monthly basis. In the latest review, undertaken in June 2018, AVA auditors Dr Bruce Allworth and Dr David Hucker concluded that: “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, particularly in the area of pain relief.” • A genetic review of the AWI Breech Flystrike RD&E Program is undertaken on an annual basis. Following a review in June 2018, reviewers Dr Peter James and Dr Forbes Brien reported that: “We commend the considerable effort that has been expended to date to develop improved methods for selecting sheep for 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.” REPORT OF 2017/18 OPERATIONS – SHEEP PRODUCTION 27
AWI Annual Report 2016-17