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Beyond the Bale : March 2015
WOOLPOLL 2015 Later this year, woolgrowers Australia- wide will once again have the opportunity to choose at WoolPoll what percentage of their clip proceeds are used to fund AWI - their research, development and marketing company - for the next three years. In the lead-up to the ballot that runs from 14 September to 30 October, the WoolPoll 2015 process will be presided over by an independent panel of woolgrower representatives. I encourage all wool levy payers to cast their votes when the poll opens. THE WOOL SELLING SYSTEMS REVIEW The Wool Selling Systems Review (WSSR) panel released an Issues Paper in December 2014 and the 50+ submissions received by the panel are available on wool.com/wssr. The panel intends to release a Discussion Paper by the end of April and hold a one- day stakeholder workshop during May. The due date for final submissions from stakeholders will be the end of June, with the WSSR’s final report being issued later in the year. The WSSR has been commissioned by AWI on behalf of Australian woolgrowers, with the aim to reduce costs within the exchange of ownership between the seller (the woolgrower) and the first buyer (usually an exporter or processor) and increase competitive tension at the point of sale. WILD DOG CONTROL IN VICTORIA Results from the AWI-funded Victorian wild dog community baiting coordinator project indicate a significant reduction in wild dog predation on sheep flocks, and local communities more actively engaged and informed. There are now 17 community wild dog control groups in Gippsland and north eastern Victoria that have distributed more than 60,000 baits over 120,000ha of land. The program focuses on practical and on-ground control activities. AWI funds two wild dog coordinator positions in Victoria, along with coordinators in NSW and Queensland, who engage with the community and encourage communication between land managers. FORAGE SHRUBS IN MARGINAL LAND Forage shrubs are fast becoming an important tool to bridge the dry summer and autumn sheep grazing systems feed gap, particularly in marginal farming areas. The Future Farm Industries (FFI) CRC’s Enrich project, partly funded by AWI, demonstrated a combination of forage shrubs and inter-row annual pastures can increase sheep live weight gain as well as reduce wind speed and provide shade for stock. Perennial shrubs make marginal land more profitable by providing extra green feed for sheep at a time of year where feed supply and quality often limit productivity. BREECH FLYSTRIKE LINK TO ODOUR AWI-funded experiments undertaken at the University of Western Australia have shown that female blowflies looking to lay eggs are attracted by the odour of wool from flystrike susceptible sheep in preference to wool from flystrike resistant sheep. Work continues to isolate the specific ‘odour’ chemicals. The ultimate aim of the research is the development of a test that could be used on wool samples in a lab (like micron testing) to get a resistance/susceptibility measure that will lead to reduced breech strike, reduced need for very low breech wrinkle and dags, and reduced reliance on chemicals. INTERNATIONAL WOOLMARK PRIZE The womenswear award and the new menswear award of the 2014/15 International Woolmark Prize were both held in the past couple of months. We see this competition as a strategy to create brand and fibre awareness in the northern hemisphere. The interest in these awards from fashion communities and media globally has been phenomenal which is important to help increase the global demand for Australian wool. WOOL IN SPORTS/ OUTDOOR APPAREL AWI continues to cement Merino fibre’s presence in the sports and outdoor market, collaborating with leading manufacturers and brands to promote the natural benefits of wool as a performance fibre. A majority of the world’s leading outdoor brands now incorporate Merino wool innovations in their collections, and it is interesting to note that even large well-known companies that have made their name producing synthetic fabrics have now started to launch their own wool rich products. FIBRE OF FOOTBALL CAMPAIGN With the start of the 2015 AFL season comes the historic development that all clubs will be selling Australian wool products for the first time in decades. 100 per cent Australian wool retro football jumpers, scarves and beanies will be available from all 18 clubs as well as AFL shops from April this year, branded under AWI’s Fibre of Football campaign. Also available will be knit kits in club colours and club-knit wool blend jumpers for members. INTERIORS AND BROADER WOOL The world’s largest trade show for interior textiles Heimtextil continues to grow – a sign that there is increasing momentum in demand in this sector – which is good news for woolgrowers whose clip is broader micron and crossbred wool. As in previous years at Heimtextil, AWI co-hosted the Wool Arena – a focal point for the industry to promote the fibre at the show – highlighting the superior natural benefits of all wool. GETTING ON WITH BUSINESS We are continuing with initiatives to help increase the demand for wool through investments in marketing and R&D – from farm to fashion. STUART McCULLOUGH CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER AUSTRALIAN WOOL INNOVATION UPFRONT 3