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AWI approves new project to support woolgrowers
Nov '08
The board of Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) approved an investment of $1.21 m over the next 3 years to support producers in managing their sheep in the lead up to the industry commitment to phase out mulesing.

AWI believes that this initiative, in partnership with state governments, will ensure that woolgrowers have the information to assist them in decision making about the future management of their flocks.

The project will be managed by the AWI Extension Network projects in each state and supported by each State Government with staff and resources estimated at an in-kind contribution $1,050,000.

The CEO of AWI, Craig Welsh, congratulated the Departments of Agriculture and Primary Industries for their commitment to support woolgrowers to meet international retailers needs.

"This decision by the departments is an acknowledgment of the importance of finding alternatives to mulesing and getting this information to woolgrowers ," Mr Welsh said.

"This will also help in enhancing understanding in the wool growing community of the importance of meeting the requirements of retailers and customers who are expecting to see the practice of mulesing phased out."

The program will promote the immediate need to commence the long term strategy of breeding productive, high fleece weight sheep that do not require mulesing.

It will also stimulate discussion and demonstrate the range of early options already available or under development.

These include changes to management practices, including the new plastic clips which will be available in the first quarter of next year, intradermals and breeding tools – and how to assemble them into a workable package for each business.

There will also be assistance for woolgrowers to implement and refine the management package used on their property, both in the short and medium term.

The program will be carried out in Victoria by BESTWOOL/BESTLAMB and Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Victoria, in NSW by SheepConnect NSW and DPI NSW, in South Australia by SheepConnect SA and Rural Solutions, in Western Australia by The Sheep's Back and Department of Agriculture and Forestry Western Australia, in Queensland by Leading Sheep and Queensland DPI and Agforce and in Tasmania by Tasmanian 8x5 and DPIW.

The program will provide a network of trained technical specialists across Australia who are available to woolgrower groups and their agribusiness service providers to provide technical information and training on alternative breech strike management techniques.

There will also be a website which provides the most up to date research findings, tools and publications.

A comprehensive program of workshops, training events and field days will also be held across Australia to support woolgrowers phase out mulesing.

According to Mr Welsh, this project seeks to build on the work already done to move wool growers from awareness to the point of trialling and adopting new approaches to managing breechstrike.

Australian Wool Innovation (AWI)

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