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Beyond the Bale : June 2012
3 June 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 activities in which the organisation has been involved. Lifetime Ewe Management: The Lifetime Ewe Management training course continues to go from strength to strength, providing materials and developing skills for woolgrowers to help improve animal nutrition, lambing percentages and weaning rates. Some 1100 sheep producers across Australia have now joined or completed the on-farm course. Overall, participants have lifted the number of lambs weaned per hectare by 30 per cent, achieved through a 15 per cent increase in ewe stocking rate, a 50 per cent reduction in ewe mortality and a 15 per cent increase in weaning rates. Shearer and woolhandler training: We continue to put significant resources into training for novice, improver and professional shearers and woolhandlers within our regional coaching program. The aim of the AWI shearer and woolhandler training program is not only to attract and retain new entrants into the wool harvesting industry, but also to directly increase returns to woolgrowers through improved clip preparation practices. Breeding Leadership course: AWI held a four-day professional development 'Breeding Leadership' course for young woolgrowers in February. The 23 participants in the course are the next generation of leaders within the wool industry. At the course, the participants discussed marketing, leading and managing people, corporate governance, succession planning, time management and strategic planning. These young men and women see plenty of opportunities for wool both on-farm and at retail. AWI 'Wool Clip' events: AWI is working with local groups to host a series of woolgrower update events around the country, beginning later this month. These free events will communicate to attendees the latest wool industry knowledge and developments from AWI. The topics on each event's program are based on issues of relevance to your local region. They range from practical on-farm advice, such as keeping flies under control, to learning about the market for Australian wool. I encourage you to attend -- see page 36 for the dates and venues. International Wool Textile Organisation: AWI attended the IWTO conference in New York in May. The mood at the conference was upbeat, with delegates hearing presentations from AWI on our marketing initiatives. Attendees and speakers from AWI included chairman Wal Merriman, myself, chief strategy and marketing advisor Rob Langtry, manager of market intelligence and trade reporting Paul Swan, Italian office strategy advisor Fabrizio Servente and Woolmark apparel care manager Cathryn Lee. A highlight of the conference was the presentation of the 2012 Fashion + Retail Market Report by AWI and Women's Wear Daily (WWD). The report provided insight into future market opportunities for wool in the US. Over 300 delegates attended the presentation including 100 retailers such as DKNY, Polo Ralph Lauren and Gap Inc. Record 11.1 micron wool bale: Whilst in New York, I attended the award ceremony of The Loro Piana Challenge Cup which was again awarded to an Australian woolgrower for having produced the finest wool bale in 2011. The Australian Highlander Ultrafine Farm in Tumbarumba NSW, owned by Suzanne Triplett, won the prestigious award for the second year in a row. Their 11.1 micron bale has set a new record for the finest wool bale ever produced in Australia. AWI is proud to promote this superb achievement around the world. It highlights Australian woolgrowers' constant endeavour to produce the best Merino wool, reaffirming the inspiration of our marketing campaign 'Merino. No Finer Feeling'. International Woolmark Prize: Vogue has joined us as the global media partner of our new International Woolmark Prize. We also have the world's most important buyers, retailers and fashion councils on the judging panels to generate integrity for the award. The International Woolmark Prize is a global fashion design award 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. An important element of this prize is the commercialisation of Australian Merino wool products in each of the regions. Campaign for Wool: The success of the Campaign for Wool continues to spread here in Australia as well as across the world. Australian retailers came together for the Campaign's Wool Week which was held in April to coincide with the start of the mid-winter retail season. It was pleasing to see so many store fronts promoting wool and the Woolmark brand. The Wool Modern exhibition and the Urban Farmyard at Sydney's QVB were highlights of Wool Week, which received media coverage worth an impressive five million dollars in editorial value. Stuart McCullough Chief Executive Officer, Australian Wool Innovation