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Beyond the Bale : Apr 07 - May 07
The Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX) has released the industry-revised Woolclasser's Code of Practice to coincide with the 2007--09 registration period and, according to AWEX, it has undergone its most rigorous review since its introduction as the industry standard for clip preparation in 1986. "It is important the Code of Practice is reviewed and owned by all stakeholders in the industry, and its importance is in the fact that woolclassing is the first step in the processing chain and a vital area to get right," says Mark Grave, AWEX chief executive officer. "Australia's wool preparation standards and woolclasser registration scheme underpin the confidence with which processors buy Australian wool. These standards are the envy of other wool- producing countries." The updated code substantially improves the development of a standardised bale-description scheme, featuring a simple, logical format. "In an age of objective measurement for staple length and strength we had to revisit the primary functions a bale description must fulfil," Mr Grave says. "We also had to find the right balance between in-shed management, in-store lotting and accurate product description for the end-user. "A bale description has to indicate to the processor important information, especially those characteristics which are not objectively measured but affect processing performance, such as breeding background, stain and cotting, et cetera." Key information required on each bale now includes the Sheep Breed Group. This is mandatory on all lines of wool. For example 'AAA M' for Merino fleece wool, 'AAA M PCS' for Merino pieces, 'AAA M BLS' for Merino bellies and so on. The new Code of Practice is full colour and presented in an easy-to-read chronological format. An expanded grower- responsibilities section has been introduced, as well as comprehensive sheep breed information and explanations as to why certain clip preparation practices should be followed. According to AWEX, the recent criticism of wool quality from Chinese processors has reinforced the importance of clip preparation and the need to satisfy Australia's greasy- wool customers' expectations. Mr Grave says, after talking with many Chinese processors first-hand, it is obvious they want to learn more about Australia's wool clip and how it is prepared. "This is probably more a result of having been kept at arm's length from direct contact with wool buying under their previously centrally planned economic system," he says. "The Chinese are looking to improve their product quality and the raw material is about 70 to 80 per cent of their total costs. Naturally, they want to know more about procuring a quality Australian raw-wool product." To meet this knowledge gap, the relevant sections of the 2007-- 09 Code of Practice and other information have been translated and included in a Chinese- language publication. AWEX is also working with Chinese processors to get more specific feedback on complaints that are due to below-standard classing or poorly described bales. "A lot of complaints [from processors] about dark fibre contamination are a result of minimal or no skirting, uncrutched sheep, or both," Mr Grave says. "We know that Australian woolgrowers are looking for incentives through better market prices, but complacency is not an option. The Chinese market is changing quickly and clip preparation is one area the Australian industry must continue to focus on and improve. "These Chinese companies are proud to buy Australian wool, and maintaining the integrity of the classer's stencil on the bale, and the reputation of the Australian wool clip as well-prepared and accurately documented and packaged, should be everyone's priority." AWEX intends to undertake more education and extension work with Chinese processors in 2007. ú More information:Australian Wool Exchange, 02 9428 6100, www.awex.com.au Industry revises code of practice for woolclassers The industry's wool preparation standards have been given their most rigorous review in 20 years 16 IN THE SHED BEYOND THE BALE A new Code of Practice now applies to the classing of Australian wool clips. ˝ RESEARCH LIBRARY ON THE WEB AWI funding has enabled the results of half a century of wool research and development to become available on the internet. The Livestock Library website (www.livestocklibrary. com.au) is a database of more than 15,000 documents, including journal articles, conference proceedings and extension information. Its target audiences are all sectors of livestock production industries and the general public. Developed by the Australian Sheep Industry CRC and the CRC for Beef Genetic Technologies, and funded by AWI, the Livestock Library is supported and hosted by the Department of Agriculture and Food,Western Australia. Users can search any combination of author, title and keyword, and searches can be limited by date. Full-text papers published in the Proceedings of the Australian Society of Animal Production (ASAP) and the Association for Advancement of Animal Breeding and Genetics (AAABG) are available free. Another useful research tool is the International Journal of Sheep and Wool Science website (http://sheepjournal. une.edu.au), published by the University of New England, Armidale, with funding from AWI. Previously published non- electronically as the Wool Technology and Sheep Breeding Journal, the online journal is for publication of original articles about the wool and sheepmeat industries and all aspects of sheep and small-ruminant breeding and husbandry, including on-farm production, handling, transport, measurement, marketing and processing of wool and meat. ú More information: www.livestocklibrary.com.au; http://sheepjournal.une.edu.au PHOTO: DAVE RANKINE Classing facts ú Approximately half of the 21,000 registered woolclassers are Owner Classers (OCs) ú Woolclassing as a course was first offered at Sydney Technical College by Alfred Hawkeswor th in 1891 ú The first national woolclasser registration scheme star ted in 1958 ú AWEX is holding more 'BOARDtalk to the Bush' woolclassing seminars in regional Australia in 2007 -- more than 1300 people attended these free seminars in 2006.
Jun 07 - Jul 07
Feb 07 - Mar 07 Supplement