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Wool Stocktake : AWI Annual Report 2017-18
These workshops are run on a demand basis through AWI’s State Grower Networks across Australia. To find out about upcoming workshops in your region, contact your State Grower Network (contact details at www.wool.com/networks). • The Improving Lamb Survival by Optimising Lambing Density project has shown, on average, survival was just under 3% greater for lambs born at the lower mob sizes compared to the higher mob sizes, with density not having a significant effect. This equated to a 2% decrease in the survival of twin-born lambs for each extra 100 ewes in the mob at lambing. The effect is linear – with an increase mob size, lamb survival decreases. The next step will be to undertake a full benefit-cost analysis in terms of reducing mob size to improve lamb survival, including the costs associated with subdividing or putting up temporary fencing in large paddocks. • The Quantifying and Understanding the Displacement of the Merino Ewe project is providing AWI with valuable information about the decision-making processes of woolgrowers in Australia. This project will contribute to further developing AWI’s strategies for maintaining a ewe flock to sustain the Australian wool industry. • Industry interest in revising artificial insemination (AI) protocols has been met with the AWI-funded Improving the Success of Sheep AI Programs project in collaboration with SA Stud Merino Breeders. Its aim is to improve oestrus synchronisation in laparoscopic AI programs by developing one or more new protocols. • Results from AWI’s ongoing project Metabolic Disorders In Pregnant Ewes show supplementary feeding of calcium and magnesium to pregnant ewes that don’t show any visual sign of a deficiency is still likely to put the ewes into a better metabolic state and potentially lead to better lamb survival. Checking teeth as part of the 4Ts assessment (teeth, toes, tackle and testicles) at a RAMping Up Repro workshop, developed by AWI in partnership with Zoetis Australia. • The Improving Predication of Ovine Foetal Age project investigated the feasibility of predicting foetal age and lambing date from pregnancy scanning foetal head size. Analysis indicates foetal age with a leeway of 7 to 8.5 days of the true age was correctly predicted in 95 to 98% of pregnancies. There was 100% discrimination between early lambing ewes and late lambing ewes from either a 28 and 35 day joining period. GENETIC IMPROVEMENT INVESTMENT FOCUS This program of investment will support the increase in the net reproductive rate in Merino flocks of 15% by 2030, while maintaining fleece weight and increasing productivity per unit land area, through: • Increased collection of lifetime fleece, body and reproduction data in wool sheep. • Maintenance and improvement of Australia’s across-flock sheep genetic improvement infrastructure, including wether trials, central test sire evaluation, and MERINOSELECT. • Fostering improved within-flock sheep selection practices. STRATEGIC TARGETS Targets for three-year period 2016/17 to 2018/19 Progress during 2017/18 1. At least 3,800 Merino ewe progeny being evaluated for lifetime productivity across at least 4 regionally representative sites, in partnership with Australian Merino Sire Evaluation Association. Achieved. Five Merino Lifetime Productivity (MLP) sites have been established, each with two drops of F1 ewes being assessed for their lifetime productivity. The final two drops are now on the ground at the Macquarie and New England sites. There are three other sites that are a year or two ahead; Balmoral with 2015 and 2016 drop F1 ewes and the MerinoLink site at Temora and the Pingelly site in WA with 2016 and 2017 drop F1 ewes. The F1 ewes have been sired by 135 unique AI sires and their lifetime productivity will be assessed for five lambings. REPORT OF 2017/18 OPERATIONS – SHEEP PRODUCTION 31
AWI Annual Report 2016-17