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Beyond the Bale : Oct 07 - Nov 07
Merino history catches up with the present As the world has opened up and the pace of communications quickened, knowledge of the past has vastly increased, so when Charles Massy went to update his 1990 book The Australian Merino he found history had changed. "No doubt if I went to update it in another 20 years' time we would know so much more again," he says on the eve of the updated edition's launch. By travelling to regions that were inaccessible when he was researching the first edition, and gaining access to the work of interpreters of early documentation of the Merino, Charles has been able to reveal fresh insights into the development of the Australian Merino.With support from AWI, Charles updated the book to coincide with the Merino 200 celebrations. "The origins of the Merino sheep are far removed from what we've always been taught -- that they came from England and were based on the Spanish breed of sheep," he says. "The basis of the modern-day Merino came from central Europe: the old German states, the Czech Republic and Poland." The Chernobyl disaster meant that Charles had to abandon travelling to this area when researching the first edition. Charles also learned that the first time commercially superior Merino wool began to capture the superior cloth market was in the 1420s. "It transformed the textile industry, just as synthetics did in modern times," he says. The development of wool in line with textile demands is given greater focus in the new edition of his book, and Charles says it was the ability of Australian stud masters to keep up with the changes occurring in Europe that kept wool as the top export for more than 80 per cent of Australia's export history. He says that by the 1850s, cotton threatened to knock over wool because it was outperforming the short-stapled, Spanish-type Merino fibre. But then, just as combing technology became mechanised, Australian breeders re-engineered the Merino fibre into a long-stapled fibre suited to combing. "The most remarkable story in our wool history was the adaptation through breeding with the Peppin-type sheep, which produced a long, fine fibre. It reinvented the industry and went on to build the wealth of Australia. If you had to name the people who had the greatest influence on buildin the wealth of this nation it was those stud breeders who responded to the challenge As a stud breeder running 'Severn Park Merinos' at Cooma in NSW's Monaro region, Charles' latest research has given him more hope than ever for the future of the Australian wool industry: "The Australian Merino is a bastard breed made up of 25 other breeds, which gives it the genetic basis to move in any direction. It is possibly the most extraordinary animal in the world in this regard.Wool is a clean, green fibre with greater virtues than other natural fibres, and using the genetic base we can also incorporate disease-resistant traits to allow us to retain that position." -- KELLIE PENFOLD More information: The Australian Merino: the Stor y of a Nation by Charles Massy will be published by Random House in November. AWI shareholders can purchase the book using the discount offer included in this copy of Beyond the Bale. COVER STORY True team shearing 12 Good conditions, good pay and consistent work add up to a successful business FEATURES Merino 200: glamour days recalled 4 Woolgrowers complained of money spent on champagne and movie stars, but it made wool a fashionable fibre Breeder inspired by genetic promise 6 Andrew Michael passionately believes these are the most exciting times for Merino breeding Wool under the microscope 10 The incredible range of wool's proper ties lies in the structure of each individual fibre Principles for profit 14 A Lifetime Wool project finds that changing ewe nutrition can mean healthier profits 8 x 5 program extends hand 16 Eight grower groups meet regularly and drive their industry's competitiveness Charm to dye for 20 A way to dye wool so it changes colour in the sun wins awards PROFILE Longina Phillips, textile designer 24 AWINEWS 2ISSUE 30 OCTOBER -- NOVEMBER 2007 Beyond the Bale is published by Australian Wool Innovation Limited (AWI), a company funded by Australian sheep and wool producers and the Australian Government. AWI's mission is to drive research, development, innovation and marketing that will increase the long-term profitability of Australian woolgrowers. The company invests in products and practices to help woolgrowers reduce the cost of production on their farms, and also under takes activities aimed at increasing the demand for Australian Merino wool. Executive Editor: Richard Smith, Senior Project Manager, Publications, AWI AWI, Level 5, 16-20 Barrack St, Sydney NSW 2000 AWI, GPO Box 4177, Sydney NSW 2001 P (02) 8295 3100 F (02) 8295 4100 E firstname.lastname@example.org W www.woolinnovation.com.au AWI Helpline 1800 070 099 Subscription: Beyond the Bale is available free. To subscribe, contact Richard Smith at AWI P (02) 8295 3100 E email@example.com Beyond the Bale is online at www.wool.com.au Copyright: Material in Beyond the Bale is copyright. Reproduction of the material is encouraged. However due acknowledgement is required. Disclaimer: Information in Beyond the Bale is not intended as professional advice. AWI will not accept responsibility for any liability arising from reliance on the contents. Beyond the Bale is written and produced for AWI by Coretext Pty Ltd. Editorial director: Brad Collis Editor: Kellie Penfold Creative director: Tim Claeys Coretext, PO Box 12542, A'Beckett St., Melbourne Vic 8006 P (03) 9670 1168 F (03) 9670 1127 E firstname.lastname@example.org W www.coretext.com.au Beyond the Bale now includes adver tising. AWI is a commercially aware company and the decision to include adver tising has been taken as a demonstration of its commitment to provide the best ser vice at minimum costs. Advertising sales: Max Hyde, Hyde Media Pty Ltd P (03) 9870 4161 F (03) 9870 4163 E email@example.com Adver tising is subject to terms and conditions published on the rate card, which is available from Hyde Media. ISSN: 1447-9680 Cover photo: Mike Henderson (left) with trainee shearer Tim Reilly, by Evan Collis Growing wool's markets I believe Australian Merino wool is in an ideal position to have a major impact on the global apparel market in the coming years. The Australian wool industry has a fantastic natural story to tell the world's consumers, and we can capitalise on the increasing global preference for natural, eco-friendly and organic products. The demographics of key markets are also in our favour. The increasingly large number of consumers with high disposable incomes, and longer and healthier lives, will drive growth in apparel overall. AWI is working to take advantage of these market trends, and the integration with Australian Wool Services (AWS) will allow us to do more. The decision in August by AWS shareholders to approve the integration with AWI will result in AWI owning The Woolmark Company and the Woolmark certification trademark. As you know, Australian woolgrowers have invested many millions of dollars in the Woolmark over the past few decades. Global recognition of the Woolmark symbol remains high in some markets, but this recognition ranges from a high of more than 94 per cent in Japan, the UK, France and Italy, down to only 48 per cent in the US. We intend to breathe new life back into the Woolmark by giving it focus and investment. By more closely associating the Woolmark with Australian Merino, we believe that we can close the gap between the more negative consumer perceptions of wool and the softer, more comfortable fibre Australian growers produce today. It is important for woolgrowers to know that AWI will continue its strong research and development to drive down your on-farm costs and also find new uses for your great natural fibre. I do understand that drought has affected much of Australia and I hope the season turns out as best it can for you. -- CRAIG WELSH, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER THECONTENTS
Aug 07 - Sep 07 Supplement
Dec - Jan 08