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Beyond the Bale : February 2010
25 February 2010 BEYOND THE BALE FAST FACTS l Clips were commercially released by Leader Products in May last year. l South Australian Stud Merino Sheepbreeders Association president Francis Andrews believes clips work for his flock as an interim measure to manage flystrike. l Francis believes breeding an animal naturally resistant to flystrike is still the long-term solution. South Australian Stud Merino Sheepbreeders Association president Francis Andrews believes the issue of flystrike prevention is being played out in the market, not just the wool market but the stud Merino market as well. "It is fine to start breeding a plainer animal, and as South Australians we have the genetic base there, but we must keep our fibre quality as high as possible," he says. "In the end, we have to be breeding profitable sheep." Francis says that as an interim measure against flystrike, clips work for his flock. Clips were commercially released by Leader Products in May 2009. This followed a four-year development program funded by AWI that involved intensive trials by woolgrowers around the country. Francis used clips on 200 ram lambs in 2008 and has been happy with the result, with the treated rams well protected from flystrike. "They certainly did a very good job on the plainer-bodied sheep. The clips have been used by SA breeders for about four years, with varying degrees of success. I can tell you the sheep have to be dry to apply them! The clips can take time to apply but as an interim measure they do a good job for my sheep." SA contractor Peter Jacka applied the clips and the lambs were brought in 12 days later, with the clips removed as the lambs were placed over the rail. "I picked up eight out of 800 clips in the paddock and the vast majority of the rest were removed from the lambs and we will be re-using them," Francis adds. Like many woolgrowers, Francis believes breeding an animal naturally resistant to flystrike is the long-term Market deciding woolgrowers' strategies PHOTO: COURTESY THE STOCK JOURNAL NATIONAL WOOL DECLARATION solution but, again, the marketplace will decide the way forward. "We are seeing many different approaches to this issue, and it is a case of 'horses for courses'. Some are giving an extra crutch and ClikTM, others are using clips. I know of some breeders using two clips on the tail and no mules, it depends on the situation." More information: www.leaderproducts.com.au WOOL PRODUCTION Francis Andrews also wants to see a greater emphasis placed on growers using the National Wool Declaration (NWD) and buyers rewarding the extra management associated with producing non-mulesed wool. "In the end it is the market that will decide this issue through price signals and that's why as many woolgrowers as possible should be using the NWD," he says. The NWD was introduced by Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX) with the aim of giving buyers and processors greater information and transparency about Australian woolgrowers' flystrike prevention strategies. It allows woolgrowers to declare the flystrike control status of their clip. The NWD also provides buyers with the information needed to source Australian wool that is from non-mulesed sheep (NM), from a grower who has ceased mulesing (CM), or from a grower using pain relief (PR). Buyers looking to source welfare- friendly wool are encouraged to select from the NWD's non-mulesed, ceased- mulesed and pain relief categories. This not only sends important market signals to farmers to declare their wool through the NWD, but also provides the Australian wool industry with information about the types of wool most in market demand. More information: www.awex.com.au South Australian Stud Merino Sheepbreeders Association president Francis Andrews.
September November 2009