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Beyond the Bale : December 2016
WOOL EXCHANGE PORTAL It was announced at the AWI AGM that the Wool Exchange Portal Working Group (WEP-WG) has provided to AWI its assessment on the viability of an online WEP and recommended that a WEP should be created. The WEP-WG had been asked to provide the Board of AWI with a clear yes or no decision on whether to pursue the establishment of a WEP. The Working Group voted unanimously to support the development of a WEP at its final meeting. The AWI Board thanked the Chairman of the WEP-WG, Mr Will Wilson, for its exploration of the subject and has asked Mr Wilson to return to the AWI Board in April 2017 a costing, timing and business case model for funding approval of a WEP. The WEP-WG in the next phase will be engaging several different parties and industry groups and will require specialist skill sets and expertise in digital exchange platform construction. INTERNATIONAL WOOLMARK PRIZE Next month the global finals of the 2016/17 International Woolmark Prize will be held in Paris. The interest in this award from the fashion communities and media globally continues to be phenomenal. It is helping put wool back on the agendas of fashion designers across the world, and consequently into retail stores for consumers to purchase. The winners of last year’s competition were recently in Australia to launch their winning collections at David Jones in Sydney, and while here they each visited a Merino wool- growing property – the source of the fibre that lies at the heart of their collections – see page 8. The designers discover they have a lot in common with woolgrowers. As designer Catherine Teatum explained: “We use both traditional and modern technology to create a product for a specific market, a season and of course a price. It’s great to have us all linked by the one great natural fibre.” ‘BREED MORE MERINO EWES’ CAMPAIGN AWI is proudly supporting the Breed More Merino Ewes campaign launched in September by the Australian Association of Stud Merino Breeders (AASMB) – see page 39. The campaign highlights the profitability of Merinos as the ultimate dual purpose breed. It encourages producers to increase Merino breeding ewe numbers in their enterprise mix so producers can take advantage of the enormous global fibre and food opportunities in future. AWI itself has made the strategic decision to focus heavily on increasing the reproductive efficiency of the Merino with the aim of lifting the average weaning rate in Merino to Merino joining by three percent over three years. Also, our recent announcement to extend the Lifetime Ewe Management course to a further 1,500 woolgrowers over three years builds on what has been the most successful sheep extension program in the proud history of the Australian sheep industry with participants significantly lifting weaning rates across the board. CAMPAIGN FOR WOOL The Campaign for Wool continues to be instrumental in driving a new demand for wool of all microns on an international scale – from luxurious fine Merino wool apparel through to beautiful hardwearing interior products for the home. Wool Weeks have recently been held in key northern hemisphere markets during their autumn/ winter retail season. Now in its seventh year, the global initiative raises awareness amongst consumers about the unique, natural, renewable and biodegradable benefits offered by the fibre. The campaign encourages collaboration between an international community of woolgrowers, major fashion designers, retailers, manufacturers and interior designers. See page 4. AWI ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING (AGM) AWI held its 2016 AGM on Friday 18 November in Sydney. At the AGM, I gave a detailed presentation of the activities of the company during 2015/16. AWI shareholders who were unable to attend the AGM in person were able to view the AGM proceedings via webcast. As well as being broadcast live, the broadcast is now available to be viewed on demand on the AWI website at www.wool.com/2016agm NEW PODCAST FOR WOOLGROWERS AWI has launched a new free podcast called The Yarn. It is a fortnightly audio report for Australian woolgrowers designed to be listened to on a smartphone, and complements our other regular communications such as Beyond the Bale and monthly e-newsletter. With staff and networks around Australia and offices in various key consumer markets around the world, The Yarn includes AWI staff reports from across the company's broad scope: from the paddocks and shearing sheds on Australian farms to wool processing facilities, design studios and catwalks in key markets around the world. See page 27. POSITIVE PRICES DURING 2016 As 2016 draws to a close, we can reflect on a positive year for woolgrowers. Due to improved demand along with supply factors, the EMI has been well above 1,200 cents for the entire year. While the EMI has been relatively stable – which is a positive in itself – the trend is still upwards with the EMI pushing above 1,300c on several occasions during the second half of the year. This consistently high EMI has been very rewarding to watch during the year and, more importantly, very rewarding financially for many woolgrowers. We hope that 2017 continues on this positive note. And with this in mind, I wish you a very happy Christmas and prosperous New Year. 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
In the Shops - March 2017