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Beyond the Bale : December 2014
42 ON FARM Following changes to the Australian Wool Pack Standard to improve road transport safety, it is expected that new wool packs could be seen in shearing sheds towards the end of this year. AWEX commenced an extensive review of the wool pack in 2011 to address safety concerns raised by the NSW Roads and Maritime Services related to over-width transport loads of wool bales on NSW roads. The road rules state that a legal load is one that does not exceed 2.5 metres in width. The main cause of over-width loads of wool on trucks is when wool bales that are more than 1.25 metres are placed end-to-end on a truck, therefore exceeding the 2.5 metres maximum. The new wool packs have been approved by the Department of Agriculture, and since 31 October 2014 only wool packs meeting the new wool pack standard have been able to be imported into Australia. It is important to note that all wool packs imported into Australia on or before the 31 October 2014 cut off are still able to be used and sold in Australia. Changes in the new wool pack standard are minimal but will provide maximum impact, ie to reduce the length of a wool bale to 1.25 metres or less. The changes include a four seamed square base; to give greater structural integrity to the bale and reduce the ‘bulge’ of the base, and the introduction of a ‘Bale Fastening Guide’ (BFG) on each flap of the wool pack to assist wool pressers by indicating best practice placement for bale fasteners when closing a bale. The BFG is a stitched line on each flap of the wool pack which, when used, will enable a wool bale to achieve a length of 1.25m or less. All other wool pack dimensions and specifications are unchanged, so they will fit all the wool presses that are currently in use, many of which have been in sheds for decades. The capacity of the wool pack remains unchanged. The packs comply with each state’s road regulations. “Complying with road regulations is a matter of safety, a priority of the wool industry and in the interests of all,” said AWEX CEO Mark Grave. “Whilst the issue of over-length bales appears to be a relatively simple matter to resolve, we were conscious that the solution needed to be pragmatic and recognise the investment woolgrowers have in infrastructure and minimise any implications for the cost of wool logistics through the pipeline.” AWEX trialled 1800 wool packs on properties throughout NSW and Victoria to ensure that all factors were considered including wool and breed types, wool press brands and farming zones, including pastoral and intensive farming. All wool pack manufacturers and importers were kept up to date on the progress of the trials and the changes to be implemented. “The trial was extensive and we are grateful for the support and cooperation which we received from the NSW Government, NSW Roads and Maritime Services, AWEX Members, woolgrowers and wool industry stakeholders. The participation of the many woolgrowers, wool brokers and private treaty merchants in the trials was essential to the successful completion of the review.” • New wool packs are being introduced to help eliminate over-width loads of wool on trucks. • The changes include a four seamed base to reduce the ‘bulge’, and the introduction of a ‘Bale Fastening Guide’ on each flap of the wool pack to assist wool pressers. • All other wool pack dimensions and specifications, including capacity, are unchanged. MORE INFORMATION www.awex.com.au NEW WOOL PACKS New wool packs have been introduced to ensure that wool bales are no more than 1.25 metres long and therefore comply with road transport safety regulations. TO IMPROVE ROAD SAFETY The new bales were trialled with a wide range of wool types, sheep breeds and wool presses,and on properties across different farming zones, to ensure that all factors were considered during the bales’ development.