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The Yarn podcast

The Yarn Podcast - logo

The Yarn is AWI’s podcast.

In addition to our regular communications such as the quarterly Beyond the Bale magazine, monthly e-newsletter, regular social media and media releases, The Yarn is a fortnightly audio report from across the wool research, development and marketing body.

Designed to be listened to on a smartphone for people on the go, The Yarn is put together essentially to report to those who AWI principally works for: Australian woolgrowers.

With staff and networks around Australia and offices in various locations around the world, AWI reports from across its broad scope: from the paddocks and shearing sheds on Australian farms to wool processing facilities, design studios and catwalks in the main consumer markets around the world.

If you have a question you would like to raise as part of the AWI podcast please email AWI Communications Manager Marius Cuming:

You can download the podcast by either clicking the episodes below,
or viewing in the iTunes store here.

Friday, 23 November 2018

The Yarn - Episode 71

Nigel Kerin

Woolgrower, innovator and agriculture entrepreneur Nigel Kerin speaks about innovations in the wool industry and what new technology he is keen to implement into his business.

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Friday, 16 November 2018

The Yarn - Episode 70

Who’s teaching the next gen about wool?

Catriona Nicholls and Madeline Scott have been the movers and shakers in getting the Learn About Wool resource in alignment with Australia’s school curriculum.

Teachers can lift the free resource straight from the website or order a full Learn About Wool kit and deliver lesson plans that focus on Australian wool that is specific for their class.

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Friday, 02 November 2018

The Yarn - Episode 69

3D printing - could this lead to robotic shearing?

We all want to make shearing less labour intensive but how to actually achieve this has stumped many shearers, engineers and entrepreneurs. Researchers at the University of Technology, Sydney are taking an entirely novel approach by creating possibly the worlds first 3D printed sheep in their quest to solve the robotic shearing quandary.

Hear from shearing legend and AWI’s Shearing Industry Development Manager Jim Murray, as he walks us through the potential these young innovators are uncovering for the Australian wool industry.

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Friday, 26 October 2018

The Yarn - Episode 68

Is the China-US trade war affecting our wool market?

The wool market has enjoyed a very strong run over the last 12 months with the benchmark eastern market indicator up about 25% year on year. But in recent weeks, uncertainty has crept into the market. Today we examine, in some detail, both the short and the long-term drivers in the wool market.

We speak with AWI Trade Consultant Scott Carmody about the factors driving the wool price and then we head to the US to hear from the President of the American Apparel and Footwear Association, Steve Lamar who reveals the ins and outs of the trade war between China and the US and how it could potentially affect the Australian wool market.

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Friday, 19 October 2018

The Yarn - Episode 67

Woolgrowers from both sides of the world

Craig Heggaton from Kojonup in West Australia has a wool and sheep enterprise that has grown well beyond the woolshed and has a tip on keeping quality staff. Hear also from the manager of Tecka station in Argentina, a massive enterprise producing great fine Merino wool in a harsh climate.

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Friday, 12 October 2018

The Yarn - Episode 66

What does industry think about WoolPoll?

Peta Slack-Smith, General Manager of Corporate Affairs at AWI interviewed a number of industry representatives at the consultation workshop organised by AWI this week.

Ed Storey, the Senior Vice President of Wool Producers Australia, Andrew Wood the Chair New South Wales Farmers Committee and President of the Wool Council and Alan Rae, the President of AgForce’s Sheep and Wool Board, reveal what they think about WoolPoll and the consultation process with AWI.

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Friday, 05 October 2018

The Yarn - Episode 65

A humble shepherd and internationally acclaimed author

James Rebanks has become – unwittingly and unexpectedly – a house hold name. His book The Shepherd’s Life has been read by thousands, maybe millions of people, but first and foremost he is a shepherd from the north of England in Matterdale, Cumbria.

James spoke at the 2018 LambEx conference in Perth about his experience as a shepherd and we caught up with him afterward to capture some of his wisdom for The Yarn.

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Friday, 28 September 2018

The Yarn - Episode 64


Many of Australia’s woolgrowers have been dealing with drought for many months, others are now slipping into it.

What help is at hand and what advice do the experts offer in terms of the key decisions that have to be made about stock, feed and finances?

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Monday, 24 September 2018

The Yarn - Episode 63

Woolmark Performance Challenge

As the inaugural Woolmark Performance Challenge charges on with some of the best millennial minds in the textile performance wear space, we speak with some of the finalists whose ideas and innovations have impressed the judges so much so that they are through to the next round of the Challenge.
Hosted in partnership with The Woolmark Company and sportswear giant adidas, the Challenge includes a two-day workshop to inspire and build capacity within these finalists before their final presentation at Outdoor Retailer, the largest outdoor sports expo and conference in the USA.

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Friday, 14 September 2018

The Yarn - Episode 62

IWP designer making waves

Her environmentally conscious philosophy creates an aura around the clothing of BODICE STUDIO and is causing a swell in the fashion world, but International Woolmark Prize womenswear winner Ruchika Sachdeva says she doesn’t follow trends, rather her clothes are built to weather the natural changes of a lifetime.

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Friday, 07 September 2018

The Yarn - Episode 61

New WoolQ Functionality

With three new functions now available on the WoolQ platform, doors are opening to new opportunities for all in the Australian wool industry. Listen in to find out what opportunities are opening for you.

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Friday, 31 August 2018

The Yarn - Episode 60

The challenge of growing wool in Africa

Every country presents different challenges for wool growers and for South Africans, big cats and mining are two very large issues wool growers must face.

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Friday, 24 August 2018

The Yarn - Episode 59

Nicholson’s Nuffield

Scott Nicholson has taken up the Nuffield scholarship with both hands and is leading the charge in finding new ways to bring technology on-farm, whilst learning some great life lessons along the way.

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Friday, 17 August 2018

The Yarn - Episode 58

Barking up the right tree

We speak with four industry representatives, Geoff Power, Karen Huskinson, Scott Pickering and Chris Patmore, about their role in wild dog control and what the future holds for the sheep and wool industry.

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Friday, 17 August 2018

The Yarn - Episode 57

Another Record High

Staggering results were achieved at Australian wool auctions this week.
But what are the factors involved in the EMI achieving both daily and weekly EMI records?

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Monday, 13 August 2018

The Yarn - Episode 56

Social license, what is it to the wool industry?

The Australian Wool industry is built on long standing trust and reputation for quality, but how easily could this be destroyed? Listen to Charlie Arnot at LambEx 2018 as he breaks down what’s needed to keep the industry on top.

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Friday, 10 August 2018

The Yarn - Episode 55

Our farming future with robots

From Lambex 2018: taking advantage of digital disruption.
Melissa Clarke-Reynolds is a digital strategist, foresight practitioner, maths geek and Beef and Lamb NZ independent director.
What sort of opportunities exist for sheep and woolgrowers in the brave new digital world.

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Monday, 06 August 2018

The Yarn - Episode 54

Cockies head back to school

Do you have trouble with your weaners? Are your rams at peak performance? Are your ewes performers or passengers?
New workshops designed to boost your on-farm productivity are rolling out across the country. Find out about them here.

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Wednesday, 01 August 2018

The Yarn - Episode 53

AFL superstars, West Coast Eagles captain Shannon Hurn and Fremantle captain Nat Fyfe pair up for wool!
We catch them at a Fibre of Football photoshoot to hear about their connection to farming and the wool industry.

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Friday, 27 July 2018

The Yarn - Episode 52

The blueprint of fly genomes and lamb survival

Two researchers tackle the big issues in the sheep and wool industry.

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Friday, 20 July 2018

The Yarn - Episode 51

Breech Flystrike RD & E Technical Update

 A full run down of AWI’s recent Breech Flystrike RD & E Technical Update. Hear from an organiser, speaker and attendee recapping the day’s proceedings.

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Friday, 13 July 2018

The Yarn - Episode 50

Where is the industry heading?

We speak to two CEOs within the industry and get their take on where we need to invest to ensure the future of the wool industry.

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Monday, 09 July 2018

The Yarn - Episode 49

Review OF Performance

Hear from AWI’s CEO Stuart McCullough as he speaks about the recommendations made in the Review of Performance and the next steps for the operation of the AWI.

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Friday, 06 July 2018

The Yarn - Episode 48

The future

- Strong days for wool: make the most of it: how?
- Can and will the market continue at current levels?
- Tech: its here and now, hear what digital technologies will shape wool enterprises in the next decade

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Friday, 29 June 2018

The Yarn - Episode 47

Robotic shearing: can it become a reality?

- The holy grail of the wool industry: the quest begins again.
- Hear from leading robotic and shearing experts from the most recent workshop
- Why peeling bananas may be part of the breakthrough.

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Friday, 22 June 2018

The Yarn - Episode 46

Connecting the dots

What do retailers and brands really think about the wool industry? AWI’s Kelly McAvoy, Sam Cockedey and Peta Slack-Smith brought some of the biggest names in the industry Down Under to find out.

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Thursday, 14 June 2018

The Yarn - Episode 45

Sexed Semen – intrigued? You should be

It’s used in the cattle industry, but can it be applied to the sheep industry? This project will discover whether selecting for sex is viable in the sheep industry.

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Wednesday, 30 May 2018

The Yarn - Episode 44

Why Wool? Behind the scenes of Wool Week

Australia celebrates arguably our finest export through The Woolmark Company’s Wool Week.
Step behind the scenes and hear the passion behind the 2018 campaign.

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Friday, 25 May 2018

The Yarn - Episode 43

Wild days for wool

- The wool market is in extremely rare territory with the benchmark EMI lapping at $20/kg as predicted by the AWI CEO last year.
- Hear why the market is so high, the true drivers of the trade and the latest trade news from China and beyond.
- What does the future hold for what is now seen as a versatile, natural and sustainably produced fibre?

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Monday, 21 May 2018

The Yarn - Episode 42

The National Merino Challenge

Australia’s leading educational competition for young people interested in the wool industry.

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Friday, 18 May 2018

The Yarn - Episode 41

Where is Lesotho?

Communal farming of flocks and rangelands, the average flock is just 200 but the Merino is so valued it is a “preferred” species according to the Lesotho government. 

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Friday, 18 May 2018

The Yarn - Episode 40

Two Merino women with very different viewpoints.

Hear from two very passionate woolgrowers: an Argentinian and New Zealander about growing wool and balancing work and life.

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Thursday, 10 May 2018

The Yarn - Episode 39

China Connection

Young woolgrowers embarked on a study tour of China.
This is what they thought of the world’s biggest manufacturer of Australian wool.

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Friday, 04 May 2018

The Yarn - Episode 38

Making headway with scanning

Dr Kim Bunter of the University of New England explains her breakthrough work in scanning for foetus age.
This is some of the most exciting work in scanning since the technology developed for sheep in the 1980s.

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Friday, 27 April 2018

The Yarn - Episode 37

South American Merinos

The World Merino conference in Uruguay
Australian genetics in South America
What it is like running Merinos in Patagonia, Argentina

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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

The Yarn - Episode 36

Marathon runners Won With Wool 

Wool has been placed at the front and centre of one of the world’s most prestigious running events: The Boston Marathon. Hear about how wool performs as experienced by four first time runners.

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Monday, 16 April 2018

The Yarn - Episode 35

Ewe are what ewe eat

Charles Sturt University (CSU), Professor Michael Friend and PhD student Forough Ataollahi explain their project through the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation investigating supplementing ewes to increase lamb survival.

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Monday, 09 April 2018

The Yarn - Episode 34

The global reach of Australian wool

The Woolmark Company is the global authority when it comes to marketing Australian wool. So what does this actually entail? Hear from key international staff members about what they do to promote Australian wool.

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Monday, 26 March 2018

The Yarn - Episode 33

Non mulesed operations

AWI has interviewed 40 woolgrowers about their transition to a non-mulesed operation for a new publication.

Farmers speaking to farmers about their experience of protecting their flock against flystrike.

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Thursday, 22 March 2018

The Yarn - Episode 32

WoolQ: the digital future for wool selling

Will Wilson, Chair of WoolQ explains its launch, functionality and future.

The platform will roll out across 2018: hear what it all means.

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Friday, 16 March 2018

The Yarn - Episode 31

Young wool optimists

The Breeding Leadership program brings young people in the wool industry together to build their business and communication skills to arm them for a future in the industry.

Emily King sat down with Jayde Cluff, Roy Elliot, Alex House and Oliver Vidor to discuss their experience of the course and their thoughts for the future of wool and their role in it.

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Monday, 05 March 2018

The Yarn - Episode 30

Australia’s biggest sheep experiment: the MLP

Big data meets the sheep industry with the Merino Lifetime Productivity project but what will it mean? Hear how this ground-breaking project is opening genetic doors for the first time.

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Tuesday, 20 February 2018

The Yarn - Episode 29

Wool and Sport

From AFL and rugby union, cricket, running and skiing ... wool and sport are a match made in heaven. Hear why these markets are growing for wool and the celebration of these links.

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Tuesday, 13 February 2018

The Yarn - Episode 28

Chinese supermodel/designer visits farm

What does Lu Yan make of woolgrowing and how will this change her business?

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Monday, 05 February 2018

The Yarn - Episode 27

Runway Wool – The International Woolmark Prize

From traditional Indian recycling practises to avalanche tracking NFC chip technology in water resistant wool, this year’s winners went above and beyond the judge’s expectations.

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Tuesday, 16 January 2018

The Yarn - Episode 26

Has wool finally cracked the US market?
Hear from major retailers and their associations about why wool is winning in this vital global market and why AWI keeps them regularly informed about how Australian farmers care for their animals.

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Tuesday, 19 December 2017

The Yarn - Episode 25

- Wool as a $20 fibre: how, why and maybe when. Hear AWI CEO speak about the future of wool.
- AWI has a new Director, how will the first woolbroker elected change AWI?
- A pasture mystery solved!!! Now science and collaboration won a pasture war.

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Monday, 04 December 2017

The Yarn - Episode 24

Provenance: we hear a lot about it but what is it exactly and what does it mean for wool?
This episode explores two very different examples of provenance with two wool growers who have their wool and their wool story, sold at retail.

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Monday, 09 October 2017

The Yarn - Episode 23

- Steven Read (Michell) and Louis de Beer (Cape Wools in South Africa) at Nanjing wool conference; where is the market heading?
- The coolest Japanese design and retail team; Facetasm visit woolgrowing farms for the first time..what do they make of where wool comes from?

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Wednesday, 20 September 2017

The Yarn - Episode 22

The business of wool

- Nadia Bartel, digital fashion star and businesswoman talks wool
- Electronic tagging on sheep properties: making it work
- Woolmark Country Manager: China talks business and marketing 

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Friday, 01 September 2017

The Yarn - Episode 21

- Global Strategic Adviser Peter Ackroyd with a warning on the current state of the wool market.
- Shavran Reddy, Indian Woolmark ambassador comes to Australia
- Hong Kong: a fashion hub as textile centre

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Thursday, 17 August 2017

The Yarn - Episode 20

- Its Ewe Time: how one woolgrower is trying yo take her wool enterprise to the next level.
- Icicle: a new age Chinese brand live streaming from the farm
- Meet the US flat bed knitting company with one hell of a customer resume of those who use wool.

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Friday, 04 August 2017

The Yarn - Episode 19

- Meet AWI’s new general manager of research … you may already know Dr jane Littlejohn, she is fired up about digital.
- Taking woolgrowers to retail and back … wool in its final form at the Australian Sheep and Wool Show.
- The structure and workings of AWI: it’s not personal, its business: hear it from the company secretary.

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Monday, 10 July 2017

The Yarn - Episode 18

- Megan Rogers explains the game-changing lifetime ewe app .. now with iCloud.
- Tom Tourle: a young woolgrowers perspective on opportunity.
- Why classic Italian style is big in Beijing.

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Friday, 23 June 2017

The Yarn - Episode 17

- Pitti Uomo in Italy: Australian wool shines and shows the way.
- A wireless farm: monitor stock and water and so cheaply.
- Educating the next wool processing specialists in China: how?

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Friday, 09 June 2017

The Yarn - Episode 16

- Travel the world and follow your wool passion with Nuffield: Tim Gubbins and Merino lamb survival.
- Woolworkers run the ruler over AWI.
- AWI CEO talks next step for the Wool Exchange Portal.

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Thursday, 25 May 2017

The Yarn - Episode 15

- Japanese wool processing giant Itochu speaks about the huge opportunity and the threat to Merino lambs wool.
- A UK Merino producer ..what?
- AFL Legend Kevin Sheedy speaks with The Yarn about the country, but can he shear?

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Tuesday, 02 May 2017

The Yarn - Episode 14

- Is the current wool market sustainable? Let’s hear what the experts say.
- What are market analysts saying about when to sell and when to lock in?
- The next generation of woolgrowers, what excites them about wool and sheep?

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Thursday, 13 April 2017

The Yarn - Episode 13

- Luxury brand Burberry speaks about Australian wool after a week long sourcing tour.
- Hear what the next gen of woolgrowers want for a profitable industry.

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Friday, 31 March 2017

The Yarn - Episode 12

- AWI Chairman Wal Merriman addresses recent issues raised in Senate Estimates.
- Woolgrower groups speak after consultation.
- The world's largest sheep experiment: MLP.
- Wool in Turkey: Naturally Inspiring education day.

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Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The Yarn - Episode 11

- From the vast Australian outback to the snow capped peaks of the Himalayas, hear how crucial Australian Merino wool is to people at both ends of the wool industry.
- Young woolgrowers returning from a tour of Chinese processing mills, what do they think of the future?
- Wild dogs: the commitment Queensland woolgrowers have to protecting their sheep flocks is amazing.

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Monday, 06 March 2017

The Yarn - Episode 10

- Hear from the man who has dressed the Indian Prime Minister and Indian cricket captain in wool.
- Paul Swan explains why the Merino Lifetime productivity Project excites him so much.
- Naturally Inspiring: a leading light from London

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Thursday, 16 February 2017

The Yarn - Episode 9

Why is wool so good for athletes?
When selling wool to consumers, it's all about offering more. Find out why the global sports brand ADIDAS loves wool. We also head to Hong Kong to meet a hugely successful Chinese designer, who can't get enough of the world's best fibre.

If you've got any questions or stories you'd like us to answer or cover, email

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Friday, 03 February 2017

The Yarn - Episode 8

- The wool market has started 2017 with a bang; what are the drivers in the market and can it last?
- The International Woolmark Prize; hear from the winners directly about how they have discovered wool.
- Korea, a big market for Australian wool. What new products are available there.

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Monday, 16 January 2017

The Yarn - Episode 7

- Measurement is a key feature of any woolgrowing business, so how does AWI measure it’s success?
- Reaching thousands of students every year, hear from a quiet achiever in the wool education department.
- Beyond the Bale, for the first time ever, we hear from its long term editor.

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Wednesday, 21 December 2016

The Yarn - Episode 6

- AWI Chairman Wal Merriman makes his global podcasting debut.
- Lars Ulvesund explains how and why wool has become a staple in active outdoor and sports brands.
- Bit tips on where wool prices will go in 2017 from someone very close to the action.

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Friday, 09 December 2016

The Yarn - Episode 5

- Telling wool’s great story to the world: the importance of provenance
- woolgrower networks, what is their real value
- AWI CEO discusses how animal activists are combatted

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Thursday, 24 November 2016

The Yarn - Episode 4

- Exchanging wool online: the absolute must haves for the Wool Exchange Portal.
- President of the International Wool Textile Organisation bullish in a British way about wool.
- One of the most important people in wool you have never heard of: what do they do?

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Thursday, 10 November 2016

The Yarn - Episode 3

- The word from China: introducing Holly Ho
- What do woolgrowers think of AWI’s work?
- Young opportunities with the National Merino Challenge

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Thursday, 27 October 2016

The Yarn - Episode 2

- International Woolmark Prize winners amazed with woolgrowing
- Superfine wool amazing treatment of skin conditions
- Genomic technology fighting Luci  

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Wednesday, 26 October 2016

The Yarn - Episode 1

- AWI CEO reports on the latest news from retailers in Europe.
- Woolgrowers in Milan: why do we invest in fashion?
- WA woolgrowers succeed with novel feed.
- The fifth stand of a shearing shed: a secret to attracting the best shearers.

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