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Beyond the Bale : September 2014
ON FARM 41 The genetics and genomics of both sheep and the blowfly continue to be explored to seek new opportunities. The sheep blowfly genome has now been mapped and has been found to contain almost 3000 unique genes that provide targeted opportunities for control. Breeding for breech strike resistance shows that breech strike resistance is highly heritable and evidence was presented that showed ram breeders were responding to the challenge of producing low wrinkle, high fleece weight, high fertility Merinos (see page 42). Odour and bacteria appear to be important factors in the incidence of breech flystrike, but it will be some time before this is validated and can be used by industry. An update on field trials from SkinTraction® technology was given (the technology is waiting for APVMA approval), as well as a summary of the use of liquid nitrogen to reduce wrinkle which has gained a proof of concept in an early scoping study (see page 43). The use of laser technology to permanently remove wool follicles has not achieved a proof of concept but new laser technology is being reviewed. Survey results show that 60 to 70 per cent of mulesed lambs are currently treated with the Tri-Solfen pain relief product. It has recently been reclassified from an S4 to S5 category chemical which allows over the counter sales. The use of Meloxicam as an animal analgesic for tail docking, castration and potentially mulesing was discussed (see page 44), together with a summary of welfare assessments across various novel breech flystrike prevention technologies. The National Mulesing Accreditation Program (NMAP) is being updated by Animal Health Australia and WoolProducers Australia. It has been newly endorsed under the Australian Qualifications Framework system giving it access to government and industry training funds. NMAP will also be able to be used as part of Certificate 3 and 4 in Agriculture. Delivery of NMAP training is expected to be again available in 2015. Information on the current levels of larvae resistance to flystrike preventative chemicals was presented and showed that they were still measuring up to their label protection periods. The development of ParaBoss (www.paraboss.com.au) assists woolgrowers to best manage blowfly threats. A number of growers, brokers and exporters emphasised the ongoing importance of growers completing the Mulesing Status section in the National Wool Declaration to meet market requirements. With increased volumes of declared wool on the market on any one day, the wool market can better send market signals back to Australian growers. AWI Program Manager, Productivity and Animal Welfare Geoff Lindon summed up the update by stating how "AWI on behalf of woolgrowers continues to leave no stone unturned in the search for practical solutions for woolgrowers to manage flystrike." The atmosphere at the event was very positive amongst the audience and presenters alike. The animal welfare groups in attendance said they gratefully appreciated being present at the event and made a point of acknowledging the effort of industry to protect sheep from flystrike. There will continue to be ongoing consultation with all stakeholders on AWI’s Breech Strike Prevention program. The Australian Veterinary Association and Genetic Review panel regularly assess the progress of the program, and their reports are on the AWI website. AWI also holds six-monthly meetings with the main animal welfare lobby groups in Australia. AWI undertakes consultation with state welfare and federal agencies, and supply chain customers in the processing, manufacturing and retail sectors. Breeder feedback on breech strike RD&E strategy is also used to update the RD&E program each year. MORE INFORMATION The presentations from the event are all available on the AWI website at www.wool.com/flystrikeRnDupdate