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Beyond the Bale : Feb - Mar 08
Competition brings out innovators A Victorian farmer has won the inaugural 'Raising the Baa' competition. Andrew Dufty of 'Melville Forest', Hamilton, reigned supreme over six other state finalists, impressing the judges with his solid, logical business plans as well as innovative infrastructure. Mr Dufty wins an overseas study tour for two valued at $10,000, which he is likely to use visiting the sheep-producing regions of Denmark and England. Mr Dufty says he has a long-held desire to visit the European nations to evaluate how environmental regulation has affected their sheep industries and to get a better understanding of what Australian producers would face in the future. "Environmental regulation is fast becoming a fact of life on Australian farms and we need to have an understanding of how this will impact on farming, prior to implementation, to enable integration into our systems with as little impact as possible on production and profitability," Mr Dufty said.Farming 1450 hectares, Mr Dufty runs 12,000 18.5-micron Merinos and last year produced in excess of 300 bales. His aim is to run 15,000 sheep that cut 50-plus kilograms of clean wool per hectare. Mr Dufty also crops 200ha and in 2007 planted 100ha of new pasture. Before taking up wool growing Mr Dufty spent 15 years working in agribusiness -- an experience which put him in good stead to operate a successful farming enterprise. Mr Dufty says he enjoys the lifestyle and the flexibility of farming life. "The flexibility and the variety of work are not something every career has, and so that was a large reason why I chose wool growing. "The flexibility enables greater community involvement and that is impor tant in maintaining a balance." The Raising the Baa competition was offered in conjunction with the Kondinin Group, AWI, Meat and Livestock Australia, the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industr y Innovation and Grain & Graze, and was suppor ted by Rural Press.The competition aimed to recognise and reward innovative producers by promoting their successes to Australia's sheep industr y. INFORMATION COURSES BUILD LASTING NETWORKS As wool processing moves from traditional manufacturing countries, demand is placed on the skills and expertise of workforces in regions where experience and full training are not available. In late 2007, AWI again joined forces with the International Fibre Centre, CSIRO and the Australian Wool Education Trust (AWET) for the second delivery of the Australian Wool Textile Training Centre (AWTTC) program. Aimed at professionals working in all sectors of the Australian and international wool industry, more than 100 participants from Australia, China, India, Italy, Korea, Vietnam,Thailand and South Africa attended in 2007. The intensive format of the AWTTC program comprises six courses, all of which feature practical demonstrations and tours. As in 2006, the 'Introduction to the Australian Wool Industry' course was a success, while the new five-day course 'Wool Topmaking and Early Stage Processing' saw Chinese, Indian and Thai processors travelling long distances to attend. A defined outcome of the AWTTC is to raise supply chain members' understanding of the inherent qualities of Australian Merino wool, to encourage and facilitate use of the fibre well into the future.With attendees from major international processors, such as Indorama Holdings Ltd, Cheil Industries of Korea, Indoworth India Ltd, Jiangsu Sunshine Dongsheng Co. Ltd, Oswal Woollen Mills and Reliance Industries Ltd, the latest training program has definitely achieved that goal. Most larger overseas mills which sent personnel in 2006 supported the program again in 2007, demonstrating that loyalty for the program is building and that there is a clear need for training.The importance of these mills to the Australian wool pipeline cannot be underestimated, with at least 10 participating firms consuming about 500,000 bales in total a year. "While we process 13 tonnes of wool per week, this is the first opportunity I've had to see an Australian Merino," said Wilson Joseph, general manager for wool combing at Jayashree Textiles, who travelled from India to participate. "Now I have seen firsthand where the sheep grow fibres with different properties.This knowledge is invaluable as it will enable me to make more accurate decisions on the wool we purchase, and this will in turn help us process Australian wool more effectively." As well as increased knowledge of the wool pipeline, a tacit benefit of the program is the opportunity for participants to meet and foster relationships with others in the wool pipeline.Wool brokers listened to the needs and wants of topmakers, and shearers listened to the needs of weavers. Business links were created, a greater exchange of market information took place and a better understanding of specific market sectors was formed. The tours of CSIRO's working mill, the Australian Wool Testing Authority laboratory and the Landmark show floor and auction rooms consolidated learning and demonstrated the reasoning behind many industry specifications. More information: www.awttc.com.au AWINEWS 3 AWI NEWS BEYOND THE BALE Getting to know the locals -- an international visitor gets up close and personal with the source of the Merino fibre during the AWTTC courses held in 2007. PHOTO: NOLAN BRADBURY Winner of the inaugural 'Raising the Baa' competition,Victorian woolgrower Andrew Dufty. PHOTO: COURTESY RURAL PRESS
Feb - Mar 08 Supplement
Apr - May 08