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Wool Stocktake : AWI Annual Report 2009-10
AWI has helped growers make sense of the increasing problem of lice infestations with a new extension program, known as LiceSense, rolled out during 2009/10. With the spread of resistance to some backliners and the removal of diazinon as a registered sheep dipping agent, AWI has been offering support to growers. The LiceSense lice extension campaign was delivered by Landmark, Elders and Rural Co and by the state departments of agriculture in South Australia, Tasmania, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. Over 610 growers were trained. The LiceSense program included a handy guide for woolgrowers on managing sheep lice. Over 7800 lice control manuals were distributed to growers. A new test that can diagnose unseen lice infestations at shearing, made available during 2009/10, was the culmination of many years' financial investment and cooperative research between AWI, the NSW Department of Primary Industries and CSIRO Livestock Industries. The accurate laboratory test uses washings from the cleaning of shearers' combs and cutters. The washings detect protein from chopped-up lice, trapped in grease accumulated on the combs and cutters as lousy sheep are shorn. The test is economical for those woolgrowers that would normally treat without seeing lice and gives woolgrowers confidence not to dip or backline as a precaution, thereby reducing chemical usage and hence residues in wool. The LiceSense manual and calendar AWI continues to fast track its R&D program to deliver welfare improved methods of flystrike prevention. • Research over the past five years based at Armidale (CSIRO) and Mt Barker (Department Of Agriculture and Food WA) confirms that Australia does have the genetics to produce sheep that are highly resistant to flystrike. However, there are huge differences in breech strike susceptibility between sites and sires. Breech wrinkle, breech cover and especially dags explain the largest differences between the highly susceptible and resistant sires. • AWI-assisted research continues with the Cobbett Technologies SkintractionTM' option that involves using a needleless applicator and air pressure to apply the SkintractionTM product to the breech of lambs. Stage three is underway to confirm the optimal applicator settings on a range of sheep types and to evaluate application of the SkintractionTM system by a number of mulesing contractors. The system is potentially on track to be commercially available during 2011 pending APVMA registration. • The NWD is giving the supply chain transparency about woolgrowers' flystrike prevention strategies. The number of declarations indicating NM (non mulesed), PR (pain relief) and CM (ceased mulesed) has increased steadily to almost 14 per cent of all bales offered for sale in June 2010. In the superfine micron area more than 55 per cent are now being declared and about 40 per cent being declared as either NM, PR or CM. • Around the country, a large proportion of growers use best practice, welfare-enhanced surgery with pain relief. • Leader Products continues to make breech clips commercially available to farmers. • AWI continues to support training for best practices in clip application and mulesing. The first breeding values for breech wrinkle were launched in September 2009 by Sheep Genetics. This is a major achievement that will greatly help the industry in its efforts to breed productive sheep that can be managed safely without mulesing. Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs) for breech wrinkle allow farmers to identify, select and breed from productive sheep that have improved natural resistance to flystrike. The ASBV for Early Breech Wrinkle gives Merino sheep producers the potential to fast-track their progress to reduce breech wrinkle in their flocks. As breech wrinkle is strongly associated with flystrike, selecting rams with low Early Breech Wrinkle ASBVs will contribute to progeny with enhanced natural resistance to breech flystrike. REPORT OF OPERATIONS -- ON-FARM R&D
AWI Annual Report 2008-09
AWI Annual Report 2010-11