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Wool Stocktake : Annual Report 2006-07
Implement new pastoral zone strategy with emphasis on evaluation of alternative breeds and ﬁnishing systems, practical revegetation techniques, environmental monitoring, improved rabbits and weed control, supporting pastoralist group network activities. 250 pastoral zone producers involved with the Bestprac network and implementing improved management practices on farm. A guide for producers and group leaders conducting participatory action research in the pastoral zone drafted. Evaluation of alternative sheep breeds in the pastoral zone delayed because of lack of on-farm economic data available from case study subjects. Report containing economic analyses and desktop review ﬁndings is due in October 2007. Through ‘Enrich’, more than 10 forage shrub species containing natural compounds that can modify rumen function, eg reduce methane production and internal parasite populations, were identiﬁed. Grazing to utilise these compounds in mixed shrub based pastures began in WA and SA. Knowledge from 40 producers from WA, SA, Victoria and NSW, along with existing literature was incorporated into the draft ‘Guidelines for successful use of forage shrubs in Southern Australia’, to be published in 2008. Glasshouse trials of a number of seed treatments improved the reliability of germination of saltbush seed with and without bracts. Severe drought forced a one- year postponement of new sowing techniques to improve saltbush establishment. With MLA, develop new Best Management Package for sheep and wool production and plan delivery strategy via state producer networks and other means. Making More from Sheep manual developed and currently being prepared for printing. CD and website currently in development phase. Co-ordinators to manage events and forums in each state have been appointed. Package and event program to be launched in February 2008. SHEEP PRODucTIvITY Target Performance against target Develop and enact extension plan for Sheep Genetics to increase participation by breeders. National Extension plan has been developed and is being enacted. An increase in participation has been seen via a series of ‘try before you buy’ offers which has seen over 30 breeders and 50,000 new records enter the database. The ﬁrst of the ram breeder workshops have been delivered for introductory clients as well as established clients with many being rolled out in the second half of 2007. Develop Sheep Genetics service levels with a view to build capacity to support breeders. Tw o part time staff have been added to the Sheep Genetics team speciﬁcally in anticipation of the increase in demand from the Merino sector. A Southern States ofﬁcer based in Melbourne and a We ste r n Australian Ofﬁcer based in Perth are available to service enquiries in those regions in addition to the team based in Armidale. Maintain support for genetic benchmarking activities such as Sire Evaluation and bloodline comparisons. Merino Superior Sires 12 was produced using Australian Sheep Breeding Valu e s (ASBVs), hence is now comparable with Sheep Genetics and released to over 4,000 woolgrowers. The Merino Bloodline Package was also updated with 2300 copies issued to growers over the past two years. Positive endorsement has been received on the value of both publications. Continue work on integration of gene markers in ASBVs in SGA. The integration of gene markers into ASBVs is still considered a work in progress with generation of gene test results on a sufﬁcient number of animals to enable integration taking additional time to complete. The ﬁrst gene markers will be integrated into ASBVs during the second half of 2007. As phenotype collection in the gene mapping project at FMFS approaches completion, commence genotyping and statistical analysis. Phenotype collection in the gene mapping ﬂock is largely complete, hence the statistical analysis has commenced on the phenotype data. Genotyping will take place after the DNA chip is developed around the end of 2007 with further analysis required once genotyping data becomes available. APPENDIX A – OPERATIONAL PLAN PROGRESS ( CONTINUED)
AWI Annual Report 2007-08