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Wool Stocktake : AWI Annual Report 2008-09
MERINOSELECT In 2008 there were 39 Merino studs that each sold over 300 rams; of these rams, 70% were sold by members of MERINOSELECT. Similarly, 43 studs each sold 200-300 rams, of which 46% of these rams were sold by MERINOSELECT members. MERINOSELECT provides genetic information to Merino breeders through Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs). MERINOSELECT ASBVs for objective traits are directly comparable across flocks, providing breeders with the opportunity to benchmark their animals' performance against other animals in the industry. The use of MERINOSELECT ASBVs is continuing to expand particularly for the harder to assess traits such as Pedigree, Worm Egg Count (WEC), Eye Muscle Depth (EMD) and Staple Strength (SS). Genetic progress is a key driver of productivity improvement in the sheep industry, so keeping track of trends is an important activity for MERINOSELECT. As an example, there has been a dramatic reduction in MERINOSELECT worm egg counts over the past five years, which shows the progress the industry is making towards breeding a sheep that is naturally resistant to worms. Other available industry trends suggest that the Merino industry is also maintaining or improving its performance in liveweight, fibre diameter, fleece weight, fertility, staple strength and carcass attributes. 3-D weed management AWI, together with Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), released a series of weed-management guides and case studies in October 2008. These outline the three key steps for managing weeds in a grazing system: • deliberation -- taking stock to determine where it is and how dense it is (early detection is best); • diversity -- using several tools together to weaken and kill the weed and prevent it from establishing; and • diligence -- persist with your strategy to do it right, on time, every year. These 3Ds' of weed management in grazing systems can help reduce the costs of weeds. They focus on implementing a program of weed management, rather than just spraying the weed when it appears. In fact, a pasture that is competitive at the right time can stop many weeds from establishing in the first place. Careful planning and timely use of several weed and pasture- management tactics are the keys to cost-effective weed management. There are separate weed management guides, with case studies, for each of the following weeds: serrated tussock, Chilean needle grass, African lovegrass, Paterson's curse, silverleaf nightshade, and Onopordum thistles (Scotch thistle, Illyrian thistle). Tom Small of St Arnoud, Victoria. One of the five woolgrowers featured in AWI s Pick of the Draft DVD. Pick of the Draft DVD In June 2008, AWI made available a free DVD Pick of the Draft' to help woolgrowers save money by making small changes in their clip preparation. The DVD was produced by AWI and the Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX). The DVD puts dollar values on changes in sheep management and shearing practices and estimates the money that can be saved through simple improvements. The DVD walks woolgrowers through simple steps in how to prepare the shearing shed and yards; staff issues; communication with shearing contractors, woolclassers and wool brokers; and practicalities like pre-shearing crutching, lice control, time of shearing and how to keep costs down. Five woolgrowers feature in the DVD, showing how they've successfully addressed one or more of these factors contributing to the quality of their wool clip and the profitability benefits. Their experiences are backed up by interviews with shearing contractors, woolclassers, wool brokers, processors and buyers. The program is more than just a training program, according to DVD presenter Scott McGregor. It's great entertainment as well as showing how simple steps can make a big difference in profitability. The DVD presents a computer-based financial model developed by AWEX to show how much cutting corners with your wool clip is really costing. Throughout the DVD, senior market analyst for AWEX Lionel Plunkett applies this model to each of the featured woolgrowers' real-life examples. REPORT OF OPERATIONS -- R&D
AWI Annual Report 2007-08
AWI Annual Report 2009-10