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Wool Stocktake : AWI Annual Report 2012-13
Sheep health, welfare and productivity Sheep Genetics, a joint venture between MLA and AWI, continues to produce Australian Sheep Breeding Values for nearly 20 traits. The number of MERINOSELECT animals assessed has doubled over the past five years. It is estimated that 75 to 80 per cent of Merino semen sold has ASBVs. Solid gains are being achieved overall by industry at both the trait level and index level for super fine, fine and fine/medium types with some studs achieving excellent gains across a wide range of traits. A review to improve MERINOSELECT indexes and their compatibility with Merino Bloodline" Indexes" was undertaken and will be implemented over the next two years. AWI funding for the Sheep CRC Information Nucleus Flock continues until 2014 to collect genomic information on all key traits and increase accuracies. An AWI part- funded pilot trial of genomic enhanced ASBVs continues. Co-funded pilot trials for SNP based pedigree and horn poll tests continues to provide important information to industry and feedback to the CRC ahead of pre- commercialisation trials. Merino Superior Sires number 18 was released by the Australian Merino Sire Evaluation Association. Sires entered over the past 10 years show solid genetic gains, increasing use of high performing sires and new entrants looking to increase linkage and commence the process of obtaining breeding values. Ongoing support to the Merino Bloodline Performance project which every two years produces updated results from wether and ewe trials across Australia. The next report is due late 2013. Assistance commenced for "Production Classes" at major Sheep Shows and Sales and for school wether competitions. A trial with DAFWA showed to optimize gains in staple strength, wool length should be 9 to 12 months growth and directly measured for staple strength. Fibre Diameter Variability can be used to achieve more modest gains at a significantly lower cost. A genomic trial continues assessing whether DNA, SNP technology can assist in the identification of breech flystrike resistant or susceptible animals. A review of the AWI and MLA Visual Score Guide released five years ago was updated with a Urine Stain score. Planning for a trial into Merino Ewe Lifetime Productivity continues. A Literature Review was completed and a process commenced to ensure that all data from past breeding flocks will be centralised into one database at AGBU, University of New England. LTEM training provides hands-on on-farm training for small groups of producers (average five) in the management and nutrition of breeding ewes to maximise reproduction efficiency. On-going evaluation of group members continues to show significant benefits to participants through improving net reproduction rate. In 2012/13, 39 AWI-funded groups completed LTEM; 53 groups commenced training in all states. In total AWI funding has supported 120 groups completing LTEM training. Strong demand for LTEM training continues. The new toxin option, para-aminopropiophenone (PAPP), for control of wild dogs, and foxes, with faster, more humane action, is in commercialisation phase. AWI investment is complete. Research continues into 1080 aerial baiting to determine efficacy at different deployment rates for bait registration. AWI funded the National Wild Dog Facilitator position. AWI Wild Dog Coordinators in Queensland, Victoria and SA have provided landholders with cross-group coordination, removed barriers to participation or control, coordinated training or education needs, introduced technologies such as aerial or ground baiting with 1080 or other methods, and identified issues to solve. Wild dog extension has been undertaken with agencies and landholders in WA, SA, NSW, Victoria and Queensland to increase the area of land under agreed management plans. Cash grants have been provided to groups with wild dog management plans, to cover baits, traps, trappers, freezers, tubs, meat drying racks, meat and helicopter hire. Training by trappers has been funded in Queensland and the Western Division of NSW where access to trappers is difficult and landholders request training. REPORT OF OPERATIONS -- ON-FARM R&D
AWI Annual Report 2013-14
AWI Annual Report 2011-12