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Beyond the Bale : September 2019
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 AWI THREE-YEAR STRATEGIC PLAN AWI’s Strategic Plan for the next three financial years, 2019/20 to 2021/22 was published at the end of June. We have consulted widely with woolgrowers and their representatives to ensure that industry views are incorporated into the plan – and we will continue to ensure that woolgrower levies are directed to projects that deliver the greatest value to woolgrowers. A summary of the Strategic Plan is available on the following four pages of this magazine; however, I encourage you to take a look at the full Strategic Plan available at www.wool.com/consultation. R&D INTO ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE TECHNOLOGIES Favourable results have been achieved in an AWI-funded pilot study of whether artificial intelligence technologies can accurately predict performance indicator traits of young sheep. This kind of research has never been done before with sheep. The project concluded that over the next five years the technology has considerable potential to progress to a stage where it could aid selection and productivity management decisions in a commercial wool-growing environment. This is very exciting news which could transform the way that key farming decisions are made in the future. INNOVATIVE SHEARING SHED With AWI support during the past 18 months, shearing contractor and woolgrower Hilton Barrett from Dubbo has designed a shearing shed which improves the efficiency of workers and the flow of livestock – while optimising worker safety, animal welfare and the quality of wool preparation. The internal fit-out, incorporating the stands and yards, has been designed to have its own structural integrity so can be built within any suitable pre-existing shell. Woolgrowers have the opportunity to copy the design by using the shed’s blueprints that are available free on the AWI website. See pages 60-61 for details. THE AMERICA’S CUP The America’s Cup has always had a special place in our nation’s hearts, ever since Australia II’s famous victory in 1983. In June, The Woolmark Company was proudly announced as the official technical partner of the America’s Cup team Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli. We are helping to develop a Merino wool-rich uniform to support the entire team and crew across the regattas, events and activities – during training and sailing. The America’s Cup has always symbolised the best of the best – from the best boats, to the best crews and now the best fibre. Now is the first time wool will take to the seas on such a large scale and allows us – along with Australia’s 60,000 woolgrowers – to see Australian wool used in such an innovative way. LIFETIME EWE MANAGEMENT (LTEM) An evaluation of sheep producers who have completed the LTEM course shows that on average they have increased their whole-farm stocking rate by 9.3% from 8.5 to 9.3 DSE/ha, increased lamb-marking percentage by 7% from 97.3 to 104.3% and reduced ewe mortality from 4.1 to 3.0%. The scale of these productivity and welfare gains achieved by participants of LTEM are unprecedented by previous extension efforts in the Australian sheep industry. Our investment in LTEM continues, supplemented by our three workshops – ‘RAMping Up Repro’, ‘Picking Performer Ewes’ and ‘Winning With Weaners’. These workshops are aimed at helping woolgrowers identify key practical actions to implement on-farm to achieve improved productivity. The workshops are rolled out through the AWI state-based extension networks in conjunction with leading deliverers. SHEARER AND WOOL HANDLER TRAINING Shearer and wool handler training remain a priority for AWI. We fund this training to attract and retain new entrants into the wool harvesting industry, build the capacity and longevity of existing staff, and increase returns to woolgrowers through improved clip preparation practices. In the past financial year, more than 1,500 days training (with more than 5,600 attendances by shearers and wool handlers) were delivered through AWI-funded programs across Australia in a combination of in-shed training, novice schools and workshops. The AWI 2019 AGM will be held on Friday 22 November at the Amora Hotel located at 11 Jamison Street in Sydney. Formal notice and meeting papers will be sent to AWI shareholders in October 2019. AWI shareholders who are unable to attend the AGM in person will be able to view the AGM proceedings via webcast. Further details are available on the AWI website at www.wool. com/agm2019. The AWI 2018/19 Annual Report will also be released in October. AWI ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING (AGM) This year is a director election year. Persons other than retiring directors who are interested in putting themselves forward as candidates for election must have their candidacy supported by a written nomination signed by more than 99 eligible shareholders. The nomination form and a consent form (available at www.wool. com/agm2019) must be received by the AWI Company Secretary by 24 September. Only AWI shareholders can vote at the AGM. If you are an eligible wool levy payer who is not an AWI shareholder, I encourage you to apply to become one (which is free) – the shareholder application form is available at www.wool.com/shareholders. Please return it to the AWI share registry, Link Market Services, soon to enable you to vote at this AGM.
In the Shops - September 2019