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New publications to help woolgrowers protect flocks against flystrike

Monday, 26 March 2018

Several new publications have been created by Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) to help keep woolgrowers informed of the progress in AWI's Breech Strike Research Development and Extension Program.

Flystrike remains one of AWI's top research priorities with more than $35 million invested in flystrike initiatives since 2005 and more than $60 million invested in animal welfare programs over this same time.

The latest publications include Planning for a non-mulesed Merino enterprise, created after interviews with 40 Merino woolgrowers from across Australia who have moved to a non-mulesing business. The 15-page publication outlines the many detailed and thorough decisions required when considering the move to a non-mulesed woolgrowing operation. Planning, sheep type, management changes and financial considerations are all discussed by those who have chosen to take this path. Ninety direct quotes from the woolgrower interviews highlight the diverse experiences and pathways these woolgrowers have taken in their move to a non-mulesed Merino enterprise. They include:

"The hardest thing was being brave enough to start"
"I needed to simplify my other enterprises to make the non-mulesed Merino enterprise work"
"Handlers are good but more strategically placed holding yards have also helped"
"Worm capsules were the break-through to get lower dags" 

The publication is a tool for all woolgrowers to gain insight into the option of transitioning to a non-mulesed enterprise and the considerations that need to be taken in the planning stage. The experience of each interviewee varied greatly and their strategy had to be adaptive for their specific environment and sheep type. 

This publication aligns with AWI's continued effort to provide woolgrowers with accessible industry information on management practices for the welfare of their sheep.

Geoff Lindon, AWI's Manager of Genetics and Animal Welfare Advocacy said, "the focus of the document is for woolgrowers to be talking to woolgrowers. The quotes express the process and the issues these woolgrowers have encountered in moving to a non-mulesed enterprise." You can hear Geoff Lindon explain the publication in more detail here.

Other items on the page include an update on the AWI Breech Strike R&DE program as at November 2017. This presentation, given by Geoff Lindon outlines the key areas of investment within AWI's program: breeding and selection, breech modification, improved management, woolgrower and domestic industry extension and international supply chain communication.

Recent Beyond the Bale articles on pain relief are also listed. A March 2017 article explains the three pain relief products that conform with the National Wool Declaration definition of pain relief; Buccalgesic® a preoperative analgesic buccal paste, Metacam 20® a pre-operative analgesic delivered by sub cutaneous injection and Tri-Solfen® a post-operative topical anaesthetic. Woolgrowers should consult their local veterinarian for specific advice.

Communication of animal welfare within Australia and internationally with manufacturers, retailers and brands is an essential sector of AWI's management and investment. A podcast outlining the role AWI plays in this and some of the large retail and fashion organisations AWI regularly communicates with can be heard in AWI's podcast series known as The Yarn. Listen to this particular episode with retailers from the United States here

The AWI Breech Flystrike Strategy, AWI Breech Flystrike Prevention communication strategy and AWI Flystrike prevention program Report Card are also publicly available for anyone seeking to gain the latest information in this significant area for the Australian wool industry.

Marius Cuming
Australian Wool Innovation, Corporate Communications
Mobile: +61 400 305 716

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