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Wool Stocktake : AWI Annual Report 2017-18
KEY RESULTS DURING 2017/18 WOOL’S ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT RATINGS • A literature review was completed and published on the environmental impacts arising from microfibres released from clothing during washing and initial recommendations made for how to account for these impacts in LCA. Microplastics from synthetic clothing are emerging as a major hazard to the environment and potentially also human health. • A full cradle-to-grave assessment was completed for wool, involving: o data volunteered by many wool processors along the supply chain, including chemical use, water use and energy use o a detailed literature review of the use phase of clothing identifying the differing environmental impacts of different fibre types o a review of the impacts of wool recycling and development of methodology for accounting for recycling in LCA o assessment of wool’s eutrophication and toxicity impacts, including identification of favourable (falling) trends in residual pesticides remaining in wool after the farm stage. • An investigation of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) Material Sustainability Index has identified a range of weaknesses in their apparel rating tool and non-compliances with good LCA practice. Engagement continues with SAC on how best to address these flaws, such as handling the use phase, biodegradation and abiotic resource depletion. Life Cycle Assessment is a tool that attempts to tell the environmental story of products across the entire supply chain. AWI funds scientific research into wool’s environmental footprint, to enable the wool industry to market Australian wool to the fashion and textile trades – and consumers – as the ‘planet-friendly’ fibre of choice. • A new 5-year project has been initiated to generate evidence on the impact on soils, biodiversity, landscape health and drought resilience of contemporary wool production. INCREASING ADOPTION • AWI’s Feedbase Advisory Panel comprising woolgrowers and research and industry experts has generated insights informing strategy in this area, including that a major opportunity exists to develop a feedbase extension program similar in approach to AWI’s Lifetime Ewe Management (LTEM) program. Key activities during 2017/18 included: o Collating and reviewing existing feedbase extension resources suited to AWI shareholders, and existing knowledge of barriers to adoption of beneficial feedbase technologies o Conducting a survey of training needs and attitudes of LTEM alumni o Generating a framework for the feedbase extension activities and materials to suit woolgrowers. PREPARING FOR CLIMATE CHANGE • Delivering phosphorus efficient pastures: Using a combination of farmer-participatory and traditional research, this 5-year co-funded project is building on earlier research which is anticipated to deliver transformational change that can reduce the phosphorus dependence of Australian grazing systems. It focusses on proving the performance of high-yielding pasture legumes with lowered phosphorus requirements. • Novel legumes: AWI has been investing in developing annual legumes such as the serradellas and biserrulas for many years. These aerial seeding, hard seeded, high nitrogen fixing annuals are suited to summer dry-sowing of seed in drier regions of WA, SA, Victoria and southern NSW and have the potential to transform mixed enterprises. Their compatibility with cropping systems is contributing to the re-introduction of livestock to these areas. This project will work with grower groups in 10 of these regions to increase the adoption of these legumes by assisting producers with five integrated programs of work: legume selection, integration into cropping and livestock systems, economics and farm modelling, and extension. 2017/18 was the first year of this 5-year co-funded project. Biserrula legumes fill feed gaps and improve soil health and overall pasture productivity. 36 REPORT OF 2017/18 OPERATIONS – SHEEP PRODUCTION
AWI Annual Report 2016-17