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Beyond the Bale : March 2012
3 March 2012 BEYOND THE BALE UPFRONT 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. I would like to inform you of some recent advancements the organisation is making. Campaign for Wool: The Campaign for Wool continues to build momentum across the world and an active program of events is planned for 2012. The Campaign aims to educate consumers about the fibre’s environmental benefits. Australia will host a Wool Week next month, the highlight being the Wool Modern exhibition that will visit Sydney. Key retailers and designers are supporting the campaign. Cool Wool campaign: AWI’s new Cool Wool campaign is showcasing an innovative range of lightweight woven fabrics and knitwear that is defining Merino as an ideal fibre for the warmer seasons and environments. There are many areas around the world – including Australia – that have hot temperatures for long periods of the year. Consumers in these regions will now have access to a new generation of lightweight Merino garments, thanks to new processing technologies and the efforts of Australian woolgrowers who continue to produce finer Merino wools. International Woolmark Prize: Details about the new International Woolmark Prize will soon be announced. The objective of the prize is to identify the world’s leading emerging designers from five major regions (Europe, Australia, India, China and the USA) and promote their use of Merino wool. The most important element of this initiative is the commercialisation of Australian Merino wool products within leading boutiques in each of the key regions. Vogue is confirmed as the global media partner and we are working with the world’s most important buyers, retailers and fashion councils to generate integrity for the award. Wool4Skool: This year’s Wool4Skool program has attracted 220 school registrations covering over 6000 design and technology textile students from every Australian state and territory. This real-life fashion design competition aims to build an awareness of the natural benefits of wool among school students. Wool bedding R&D: Consistent with earlier science findings, an AWI-funded study undertaken by the University of Sydney has found that a better night’s sleep is achieved when sleeping on or under wool. This is good news for woolgrowers whose clip is of a broader micron and crossbred wool. It is also pleasing to note that interest in wool bedding products is buoyant, according to Woolmark licensees that attended the recent Heimtextil interior textile trade show. Minister backs wool: AWI organised a roundtable event in Shanghai in December to discuss Australian wool and the healthy, long-term relationship between Australia and China. The roundtable was attended by the Australian Federal Minister for Agriculture, AWI representatives and leaders of the Chinese wool, textile and fashion industry. The Minister acknowledged the importance of the Australian wool industry in the country’s export sector as well as its support for many jobs, families and rural communities. Fibre of Our Nation: AWI is this month launching a new initiative for woolgrowers to get involved in the marketing of their great natural fibre. Fibre of Our Nation is a competition through which woolgrowers can highlight their stories and images that celebrate the heritage, custodianship, community and pride that goes into their clip. The competition seeks to find the best marketing material from within the industry. Visit www.wool.com/FibreOfOurNation for details. Breech flystrike R&D: Breech flystrike prevention continues to be AWI’s highest on-farm R&D priority, with a significant percentage of AWI’s on-farm R&D budget currently invested in this area. R&D indicates that dags and breech wrinkle are the two main indicator traits for breech flystrike, while wool colour and breech wool cover are secondary traits. These four key traits explain a significant amount of the risk to flystrike, equivalent to mulesing in some areas. However there are some remaining factors that are “as yet unknown”. Ongoing work is looking at several factors, principally odours and bacteria that attract the female blowfly. Wild dogs: With wild dogs estimated to cost Australian farmers $65 million in stock losses a year and reducing the areas where sheep can be grazed, wild dogs are near the top of AWI’s hit list. Several initiatives are under way by AWI, in collaboration with other groups including the Invasive Animals CRC, to overcome wild dog predation. I am pleased to hear that there are an increasing number of producer groups being set up, with the help of AWI funding, to coordinate the control of wild dogs. Woolgrower groups seeking assistance in protecting their flock from wild dogs should contact Dr Jane Littlejohn at AWI on (02) 8295 3100 or firstname.lastname@example.org E-communications: Feedback from woolgrowers indicates that our monthly Woolgrower e-newsletter has proved successful in providing them with a regular snapshot of key projects and events involving AWI. To subscribe to this free service, email email@example.com. It complements well our quarterly Beyond the Bale magazine. As Beyond the Bale goes to press, there are significant areas of the country affected by extreme weather conditions and floods. I hope that those affected woolgrowers recover quickly and that you are set up for good grazing conditions for a long time into the future. Stuart McCullough Chief Executive Officer, Australian Wool Innovation